Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pluck a Thistle and Plant a Flower

"Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow." 
 Abraham Lincoln

There are certain events you can't help but remember. The day you married, the birth of your first child, a special anniversary dinner, your child's first step or something greater, something you can't even imagine.

When I was 4 1/2 years old, I remember laying on our living room floor coloring while the television was on.  I remember the television being on because each day my mother would watch the game show Jeopardy with Art Fleming. The next thing I remember was my mother sitting on the 'edge of her seat' with a dishtowel in her hand, and silently wept, while listening to the news that JFK was shot.  

That was 1963 and I remember that day.

When I was 12 1/2 years old, and everyone was being drafted for Vietnam, I remember my brother joining the Coast Guard. Because my parents never explained to me what was happening, I thought my brother was leaving for the war and I would never see him again.

That was 1971 and I remember that day.

When I was 21 years old, I remember driving to my chiropractor, and the song Imagine was playing on the radio. After the last word, the DJ came on announcing that John Lennon had been shot at the entrance of his building where he lived and was now dead.  A day many people will never forget.

That was 1980 and I remember that day.

And, when I was 42 years old, I remember driving to our local beach/playground to enjoy another beautiful fall day with my boys.  As I always do in the car, I turned on the radio but no music played that morning, no songs of joy were sung, instead, all I heard was fear in the voices of the broadcasters announcing the Twin Towers came crashing down. An overwhelming sense of fear came over me that will never be forgotten. Fear for the victims, their families, my family and friends, but most of all, my two small children. 

The world changed that day, changed forever and freedom as I knew it, would no longer be for my boys.

That was 2001 and I remember that day.

I couldn't post on 911, I couldn't watch TV and listen to the names of the victims as each one was read, no paper that day for I didn't want to relive each image, I had seen enough in 2001. No comics that day either, nothing funny about 911, I barely made it through Father Cox's sermon while sitting in church. 

There are some events we'd like to forget, but we just can't. We all deal with them differently and should not be judged as to how we deal with them or when we deal with them. We can only hope that every time a thistle grows in our personal garden or the botanical garden of this world, we can pick that thistle and plant a flower where that thistle would grow. I think we are all on our way in achieving what Abe Lincoln would do.

I'll leave now with some of the most profound words I have heard in my lifetime and reflect back on the hopes and dreams of John Lennon, as well as mine.

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one 

                                                                           - John Lennon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In '63 you were 4 1/2 and I was in 4th grade when a wrap was heard at the classroom door; in short order everyone was hushed with the news of our President as Sister Amada led us in prayer.
Remarkable how particular life events still shine so bright in our memories....thanks for sharing yours. Margaret


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