Smoke and Tears

Scroll down ↓

Scratch the surface of any long-time New Yorker on 9-11, we all bleed smoke and tears.

It took me a long time to be able to write anything about it. I lived in Hell’s Kitchen at the time. Ended up volunteering on The Pile shortly after, eyes and lungs searing with ash and fear. Few people slept without having known someone who went to work in the morning and never came home.

That day reset my lens on life. I’m always surprised how emotional I get writing about it. Because the moment I do, I’m back there.

You’ll find far more eloquent tributes all over the media and the web today.

For me, something simple…

Hug someone like you mean it. Kiss them.

Look in their eyes like it’s the last time you’ll see them.

Love them like this moment is the only one you’ll get.

God-willing it won’t be. For a very long time.

But, don’t forsake the window.

To do it. Now.

 

Join our Email List for Weekly Updates

And join this amazing community of makers and doers. You know you wanna...

11 responses

11 responses to “Smoke and Tears”

  1. Valerie Cooley says:

    Thank You for reminding me: ) Such heartfelt words!!!! I will share!!!! Peace & Love

  2. Yes, do not forsake the window! All we ever have is now. Loved this Jonathan. Thank you.

  3. Myron Williams says:

    That day changed the way we look at life, how each moment is precious. But we also learned there is a resiliency to many people as a result of such a tragedy, and life is richer because of it.

    Like other tragedies in the life of the American people we got through with our hope and faith in tact, and some are even stronger. We remember the horrific events, but in them see the heroic side of the American people. May we remember those who died, those who gave their lives for others, and those who served others during those dark days. And in all things give thanks.

  4. As horrible and pivotal of an event that it was, (for you personally, a well as for our culture)…

    I found myself in an airport today, observing the moment of silence. (How could I not have realized The Date when I booked our travel?)

    But I think back to seeing your Uncertainty book trailer the first time, and the authenticity & raw emotion moved me.

    So many of us are benefitting from your lens reset, and are living and working with revitalized purpose, and urgency. Not sure it’s possible to reconcile all that has been gained with all that has been lost… But I gotta think you’ve created 1 of the best possible outcomes from that level of devastation.

  5. Absolutely, no matter where in the world we were that day, it changed everything. My sister and newly-departed father also shared a birthday on that day; a good friend of my husband’s had a baby girl on that very same day; my husband himself was in hospital on that day. Every September 11th, brings back so many thoughts and feelings.

    So many of us knew someone who knew someone who perished that fateful day.

    Live in the present, cherish what you have, love life!

  6. deb harpster says:

    dear jonathan,
    kristoffer carter’s comments sum up my thoughts and thanks to you:
    “So many of us are benefitting from your lens reset, and are living and working with revitalized purpose, and urgency. Not sure it’s possible to reconcile all that has been gained with all that has been lost… But I gotta think you’ve created 1 of the best possible outcomes from that level of devastation.”

    i am humbled. grateful. incredibly moved with hope for the best of humanity and filled with the desire to “do good.”

  7. Kevin Humdinger says:

    I LOVED it. Everything is so precious and we take it for granted…constantly. Your line “That day reset my lens on life” – that’s a statement that’s an instant shifter. Thanks so much.

    BTW, I came aware of your wonderful tribute through Shawn Phillips…

  8. marjorie says:

    Dear Jonathan,
    Such trauma that shook the world in its horror found you so near in its quake. Thank you for sharing, and especially for focussing on the necessity of appreciating each other and the lovely wonder of a moment. God bless you, your family, your friends, especially the ones you see with their losses.

    I woke up this morning with a song in my head. The only words I know kept repeating ” Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.” At dinner today, we prayed together that we make the effort, if not vow, to consistently make peace within our home and relationships. Without each of us intentionally creating peace, we cannot expect countries and groups of millions of people to create peace amongst them.

    So sad that we experienced this 911 day. May love abound and erase all that is not love.

  9. You’re brave to keep writing about this even though it opens up old wounds and wise to use this experience to bring more love and attention to loved ones into the world.

  10. Carthage says:

    What happened that day was an event which touched the world. The shock and sorrow felt around the world demonstrated how wer are all really connected and how small the world really is.

    The words you have posted here form a fine philosophy for life.

  11. Sandi says:

    Very eloquent. I lived in NYC that day but now live across the country. I wish I could be back in NY for this, for me it’s not the same feeling as when I was there….