Part of me is in the past, thirteen years ago, on this very morning much like today. Blue skies, the sun shining, hints of fall in the air. The terrible, horrific news hitting our television screens with images and words that defy explanation. We had been attacked. We were no longer safe. The world was no longer the same. How would we live?
Part of me is there, and always will be, because that is what days like that do to us.
But another part of me is right here, sitting outside a Starbucks at a table to the left of the front door, typing away on my laptop, enjoying the blue skies and shining sun and hints of fall in the air. My car is at the shop a block away and this place is better than the service station waiting room. The Starbucks is packed with people; it is every morning. Different people every day - except for three guys. They're always here, at least every morning I'm here. I get the sense they're here on the mornings I'm not. They have their own table, much like a long-time church member has "their pew." No one sits there because they know it's claimed. Their table is to the right of the front door into Starbucks.
I'm thinking they're in their late 60's. Two Caucasian and one African-American. They sip coffee, tell stories and laugh, sip more coffee. They are in no hurry to go anywhere, and I find that so refreshing. They laugh some more.
A young mother walks up with four little girls, probably 7 and under. These men greet the mother and engage the girls in playful conversation. Asking names, ages. They chat a few minutes and then the mother and girls go inside, all with smiles on their faces.
Another lady walks up with a large German Shepherd and begins to tie it to a tree out front. Immediately the dog, sensing impending separation, starts to whine. One of the men offers to watch the dog for her if she wants. She says that'd be great and takes Daisy over to them. She goes inside to get her coffee. The men pet the dog, talk to the dog, ask the dog questions. Her tail never stops wagging and she is at ease. Another person walks up and comments about how pretty their dog is. The men proudly state that they're just babysitting. The other guy corrects him - it's dogsitting. They laugh. A little later and the dog's owner returns. The men relinquish the leash, their job complete. She thanks them and heads on their way. With a smile.
More stories and laughter. More sipping coffee. I so want to be one of these guys when I retire.
Thirteen years later. So much has changed, and yet so much is the same. And thank God for that. Terrorism wins if we let acts of terror change who we are and how we live. Terrorism wins if we become so consumed by fear that we forget to laugh, to sip coffee, hang out, tell stories, talk to each other, dogsit each other's dogs.
Let's not forget to do the simple things. Let's not forget to just live. That's how we win. That's how love wins.