Three years ago, I visited the National September 11 Memorial in New York City.
It’s an incredibly moving and powerful place – have you been? For me, it produced all kinds of competing emotions. The setting and monuments are extraordinarily beautiful and reverent, but it also brought up memories of my fears on that day, compounded with the continuing sadness surrounding those who perished and how our world had changed.
When I returned home from my NYC visit, the emotions of that visit were still very strong. So I did what I do when I’m troubled, I painted. I painted a mini of the Memorial park from a photo I’d taken. I painted it as a way to try work through my feelings, almost like a type of therapy. (The hardest part was writing the names and I messed up almost every one because my hand would shake.) Once done, I put this painting away in a drawer, like an old diary filled with very personal details. Out of sight, out of mind. Someone once asked me at an art show if I had a painting of the Memorial, and I said no.
This morning, I watched the remembrance ceremony from the Memorial on TV – again, lots of memories and feelings came up. I remembered that 9/11 morning and how I was desperate to get to my 12-year-old son at school, not wanting to leave his side even for a second in those uncertain days. I thought about how I recently had to confront that deeply-rooted fear when my now 31-year-old son announced his new job was in NYC’s Freedom Tower at One World Trade. Oh, how life keeps sending out opportunities to release and resolve!
I also reflected on that emotional visit to the Memorial, and I took out the 2017 miniature painting that came from it. I hadn’t looked at it in a while. I felt differently about it this morning – less possessive and scared, more objective and respectful – and I’m not exactly sure why. But I wanted to share this piece with you. Perhaps this is another release and resolve moment.
Thanks for listening!