Like most Americans, 9/11 is burned into my memory as an event that truly changed our country. One of the things we teach our clients in therapy (and actively live in our own lives as therapists) is to learn how to make sense from tragedy by seeing it as an opportunity to grow and change. I never would have thought 10 years ago that this would be possible from the events of 9/11, but as I look at the camaraderie, unity, strength and hope our nation gained from this event, it reminds me of how truly blessed we are as Americans.
The morning of 9/11 started for me, like most of my days during that time of my life. I was still in the very beginning stages of working as a therapist, and struggling with finding some sense of balance in my life (and not doing very well at it!). I was working long hours, trying to adjust to being away from my extended family and support system for the first time in my life, having moved from out of state. Because I was so busy and consumed with work, I rarely turned the television on, and hadn’t yet reached out to find a support system or develop friendships in Indianapolis. That morning, I received a phone call from my dad, who asked me to please turn the television on and informed me of the catastrophic events that had taken place that morning. I remember having a very emotionally connected and vulnerable conversation with him, while trying to make sense out of what was happening. I remember feeling so vulnerable, and realizing the isolation I had allowed myself to fall into through my lack of priorities. All I wanted to do was drive back home to my family, to make sure they were safe, and to feel safe myself.
What is really important in life?
In the days that followed 9/11, I watched our country rally together, seeing a renewed sense of American spirit, pride, and protectiveness that I can imagine we probably haven’t seen for a few generations. I saw a country come together and get back to the basics– it felt like a shift of focus from being successful and productive to a focus on relationships, and concern and help for others– exactly what I was experiencing myself. It wasn’t long after that when I started to get more balance in my life. It truly made me realize the importance of family, relationship, and fellowship. We wouldn’t have made it through 9/11 without those who volunteered their brave service to our country in it’s many forms during a time of need. We wouldn’t have made it through 9/11 if our nation wouldn’t have set aside the things that divide us– like debates over class, status, gender, color or race, in order to band together and help others as Americans. My hope in remembering 9/11 is that our nation doesn’t forget that part, either– the sense of unity, faith and unending hope that our country received through such a tragedy. God truly gives us lessons from adversity, and I pray that as a country, we not only remember and honor the lives that were lost from this experience, but also the strength that our nation has been blessed with as a result– and those that are continuing to fight for our country and what we stand for. Let us not forget what is truly important in life.
As you remember the events of 9/11, what thoughts and memories do you have? As always, we appreciate you reading this week’s blog.
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.