If you are over the age of 30, you likely remember exactly what you were doing when you heard about the events of September 11, 2001. Those moments are imprinted into our unconscious, and even as I write about it now, my body remembers exactly how I felt that day.

I was driving up Kipling Street to my office at Crown Hill Cemetery when I heard the news on the radio. At the office, I remember all of us huddled together, sitting, watching a small tv wondering what else would happen. It all felt so surreal, and yet, of course, it was very real.

While I vividly remember my experience thousands of miles away from where it happened, I can only imagine what it was like for those directly impacted – the survivors, the first responders, the families, the friends, the people who lived in the neighborhoods, the people who walked those streets, and those same people having no idea when they woke up that morning their lives would never be the same.

Those moments imprint us.

Tragic events happen every day. Sometimes to one person, sometimes to a group, and sometimes, like 9/11, to a nation. I ponder about the imprint left on each of us, and I also ponder how we might imprint ourselves every day to build up our immunity to tragedy.

What I experienced in the days and weeks following 9/11 was an outpouring of love, coming together, and humanity at its best, unlike anything I had ever experienced. The care, compassion and giving from all parts of the country AND the world. People came together and focused on what they could do, how they could be of service.

I’ve also experienced these same aspects of caring after a hurricane. I saw neighbors meeting for the first time and sharing their food, resources and homes. I’ve also experienced these similar behaviors at the loss of my loved ones.

And, still, I ponder. What if, as leaders, we chose to show up every day, when things are going well, with more love and humanity than we did the day before? Would it make us even more resilient when we needed it most? Would it ease the impact on those we touch, if we really step into what is available to us today, and we don’t wait for something negative to happen to propel us into action and service?

What if, tomorrow, as we remember the events of 9/11, we step into a bigger version of ourselves, a version who loves more, gives more and spreads more joy?

Yes, let’s do that!

In love, service and joy,