Savage Enterprises Publishing
Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

Finding (Inner) Strength — (November 2001) Standing tall facing an uncertain future just got a lot harder. Growing up, the future never bothered me. I knew there was a beginning and there would be an end. The steps to that end were never in my mind. Why should they be? After all, it'll come whenever it does! There was no reason to avoid the future, and there was no reason to fear the future (school exams notwithstanding).

But how do you face the future when what seems your entire world is turned upside down? How do you get the strength and courage to face each day filled with anxiety, questions, and fear? From where do you get the energy to throw off the blankets in the morning and take that first step on that cold floor?

Yes, I'm still referring to the events and after-effects of Monday September 11, 2001. I thought, after many tears and wailing, that I had come to grips with it. I had never forgotten it, but I had steered my life back into the "living" mode and looking towards the future. And then, Monday November 12, 2001 brought us another Airplane disaster. 2 months to the day-of-week since the last one. On America's Veteran's Day. One day after our Canadian Remembrance Day.

In my head I could hear the screams. In my soul I could feel the fear. In my heart I experienced the terror. And in my mind I'm struck dumb.

Suddenly I'm scared. And I begin to wonder how, once again, life can ever be the same. I read the names of the passengers on the plane, I read the stories, and I shook. I could see the little children looking to their parents in fear, the adults screaming and wondering if it was another terrorist attack. My head pounded and my palms were wet and clammy. I imagined how some of those people were going home to loved ones, joy in their heart to be reunited. "It takes a second to say good-bye".

With my upcoming Wedding and thoughts of Honeymoons floating around in my brain, I wondered if anyone on that plane had just gotten married. I could not imagine the terror, frustration, anger, regret, and so much sadness of going off to relax as a couple begins a life together, only to have their future shattered, stolen, before it even began. I couldn't take it anymore. The road seemed to lose balance for me. Either the streets were badly in need of repair, or my legs had turned to rubber. Life shouldn't be lived with such fear…

After spending the day walking around like a zombie, I realized a very important lesson. Strangely enough, I was looking up at the top of buildings downtown, wondering what would happen if a plane headed straight for them… Clarity came to me as the sun was setting.

Life would NEVER be the same.

First of all, how could it? Too much happened and too many people were affected. To believe life could go back to being "normal" would be an insult and, quite honestly, a lie to myself. Second, and most importantly, once I accepted that statement, difficult though it was, my perception began to change. Life never would be the same. Thus, I had to change and adapt to this new life. To this new world. To this new way of living.

The power, the strength, the courage, that we need is in each and every one of us. Adversity comes in all shapes and sizes and it is in our reluctance to give in that we find our courage. Our strength grows from our very defiance of letting the "bad" things of life get us down. We do what we can in whatever way we can. Our stubbornness to lay down is our fuel to keep going.

As we take those first few steps in the morning, we realize that it is a small victory. But, for each step we take, we trample upon the negative energy in our lives. For each challenge we overcome, another boost of joy, if not energy, fills us. And, for each hand that reaches out to us in friendship and comfort, we realize and remember, that we are not alone.

That, is the core of our strength. That is what keeps us going. Unity. Friendship. Hope. May there always be an abundance whenever you are in need.

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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