Each of us is formed by family and cultural traditions, national identity and holiday celebrations, education, religious beliefs, and factors that present themselves in our separate timelines. We live our individual lives... with many similarities... but with just as many differences... as those around us.
When major events happen, our memories are galvanized around those events: Do you remember when humans first landed on the moon? What were you doing when you heard the news that Princess Diana had died? Did you see the World Trade Center's Twin Towers collapse?
|What memories are impressed on who you are?|
(Photo: 9-11 Memorial, New York City - Larry Gardepie)
Each generation has its own defining moments: the Great Depression of the 1930s, Pearl Harbor in 1941, World Wars I and II, the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy in the 1960s... We are shaped by and identify with many events.
These thoughts were going through my mind as I stood at the 9-11 Memorial in New York City: the footprint of the two towers defined by the names of world citizens who died that late summer morning over twenty years ago, the sound of water falling into these acre-sized Monuments to Time.
|Are there symbols of who you want to become?|
(Photo: Liberty at Sunset - Larry Gardepie)
I wondered about other Footprints Impressed on each of our lives as we try to understand the diversity and common unity of being human: what we share; what binds us together; and what separates us. At times we need national or universal symbols or leaders who point the way to our "better angels" as Abraham Lincoln described in his first inaugural address in 1861.
Symbols that remind us of the freedom to choose, to accept, and to support.
|What illuminates your life?|
(Photo: New York City at Sunset - Larry Gardepie)
As I reflect on who I am as a person and who we are as a nation, I wonder where we are headed... in essence, Who are We Becoming? We can remain on autopilot and follow the direction from others or we can choose to participate in this Action of Becoming:
- Do I choose to be generous with my time and resources in helping others?
- Can I illuminate the dark or unknown paths by sharing what I know?
- Will I listen to other perspectives and engage in curious inquiry?
As we answer these individual and communal questions:
- May we recognize the footprints of family and friends in our lives.
- May we understand the impressions we make on others.
- May we choose to become the Better Angels of our time.
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