Fourteen years ago I was watching children play on the playground. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Then another teacher came over and said, "did you hear?"
The rest of the day is a blur--dismissing children early, going to find my own daughter at the School for the Arts, where I learned she had led her class in prayer, at the request of a teacher. In a public school, they prayed. And in my little Episcopal school around the corner we played, had snack, waited for parents to come, and wondered if the world was ending.
My youngest was a baby in home daycare and I worried I might never see her again. My husband left work to get her and the plan was we would all meet up at home. Something as simple as that seemed in question. Everything was wrong. The world was upside down and a beautiful blue sky might open up at any minute with death and destruction.
We made it. Of course we made it. Our experience of the day, as terrifying as it was, was only as distant observers. We could turn our gaze away from the horrifying television coverage without the pang of knowing someone.
How incredibly lucky we were.
Today I will be watching children play on a different playground. I will try to give my attention to them fully, be present in the moment. Memories of this day will sit like a demon on my shoulder but I'll do my best to ignore them.
We go on. Because we can. And we have learned to see blessings in ordinary things.