Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Paying it Backward September 11, 2013

Dear Diary,

Today started like any other day. Mom took my little people to that place called school after they ate a healthy breakfast of watermelon and peanut butter and jelly crackers. (I got samples of both as usual).

Today the schedule was no different. Except it was. Something was very (very) wrong with my forever mom when she got back from dropping off my little people at school. I could hear her heart racing and I recognized the emotion all over her face. Fear. She ran frantically throughout the house turning on every television and radio. And she looked like she could cry at any second.

That’s when I saw it. Something terrible happened in our world today. Something about planes and terrorism and the Twin Towers and New York and death. Lots of death.

These words echoed throughout the house all morning. It wasn’t long before mom went back to school to pick up the girls very (very) early. She wanted them to be home safe in case catastrophe hit again any closer to home. And shortly thereafter there we were. My forever people and I watching tragedy unfold right before our eyes. Watching history in the making (and not the good kind). All on live television. Which I find especially ironically sad since there is simply so much death.

Today started like any other day. But it ended up being anything but that. Something tells me this is only the beginning of many changes to come.

Yours always,

Pheobe

Proud to be an AmericanIt turns out I’m not the only aspiring writer in my immediate doggie family. Twelve years ago today, my forever mom’s childhood dog Pheobe chronicled the events of that fateful day that forever changed our country, New York City and the world. I wasn’t around to experience it, but I know it’s one of those days you don’t forget.

But (at least in my humble doggie opinion) not forgetting is not quite as meaningful as always Always Rememberremembering. This was illustrated for me today in the words of author and NYU professor Jim Joseph, who suggests we pay it backward to show our respects. Joseph lives in New York, and in today’s blog entry on The Huffington Post he fondly recalls his experiences in New York on September 11, 2012.

What began in his heart as a day that should become a National Day of Remembrance evolved into an idea for a National Day of Kindness. It started with the person in front of him in line at Starbucks who paid for his coffee in recognition of the day. Later Joseph seized his opportunity to pay it backward. I’d like to think kindness made its way through New York that day.

What a beautiful way to pay our respects to an event of the past. And what beautiful symmetry there is in knowing we are commemorating a day of violence with the arch nemesis that is kindness. Today started like any other day, but it hasn’t ended that way. Through Pheobe’s words that day lives on in my heart. And from this day forward it is no longer a day to simply not forget. It’s a day to remember. It’s a day to pay it backward.