Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
What were you doing thirteen years ago today? Everyone over the age of twenty can probably answer that question with a great deal of detail including where they were, what the weather was like, what they saw, smelled and felt. Like Pearl Harbor of an earlier generation, the tragedy that was 9/11 is ingrained into our memories with detail and sorrow. I was at work. My children were at school and from the sky came a hard dreary rain. A volunteer told us about what was happening about 9:30. We turned on the only television that we had in our museum. It was not connected to an antennae or cable so we could only see grainy images on the screen. It was enough. All I wanted to do was gather my children around me. But, our school board urged us to leave students in their routine so I did. After work, I even took youngest son to the craft store to buy the materials to make a paper mache puppet as homework. It was still raining. I remember the feeling of anxiety and fear. Would our town be next? Over time, the anxiety and fear lessened. Some would say we got complacent. I think our minds and bodies just cannot take that level of stress for so long. It was time to get back to normal. As normal as we would ever be. Children grew up. Left home. Came back again. The images remain in my mind. And yours. Lately, I have been experiencing a high level of anxiety again. I write about it reluctantly here, careful not to alarm those who read these blog and love and care for me. This anxiety is not tied to one action or incident. In fact, it comes as unexpectedly as the attacks of 9/11 or like the tsunami that washed over the Far East one December. I could be working at my desk, shopping in the grocery store, driving my car and my heart begins to race, my stomach tightens, my skin feels flush and I can no longer focus on what is at hand. It is a physical response not to an emotional scene like the 9/11 photographs or to concerns like waking up in the middle of the night to realize you forgot you were supposed to send cupcakes to school with your child the next day. It has no discernible cause. Except the medicine. While I no longer have the skin reactions to my MS injections, I am now having tremendous anxiety on the day after using it. When that wave washes over me, I remind myself, it is just the medicine talking. I breathe deeply, change my focus, pray, whatever is the best method of combating it at the time. But, no amount of rationalization will overcome the panic that I feel until just as quickly as it comes, it fades away. I share this not so you will feel sorry for me or worry, but in the interest of transparency. And as a reminder of what we all felt thirteen years ago today.