Man. When I woke up today, I knew I had a busy day ahead of me. I didn't realize at the time that, from the moment I rolled out of my bed, I was going to be doing something until midnight. First thing on the schedule was the Young Audiences preview. It occurred to me recently that I don't actually have to go to this every year. In fact, I really didn't have to go this year. I could have written the script to have the four actors in the shows narrate it themselves and make them load their own darn van. ;-) But I love this annual event, and I love our touring unit, and I love the folks at YAH, so I gave up my Saturday morning yet again to help out and be available for any questions. It was a lot of fun this year, as I got a chance to speak at length with some YA folks and some folks from other arts organizations, and I think our performance went well and seemed to be getting some positive feedback from those who gathered to watch. Plus, got to catch some hip hop dancers demonstrating some capoeira. The whole thing did take a little longer than I expected it to, however. In fact, when I got home, the first thing my son Robbie said was, "You took a long time, Daddy!" By that point, there was just enough time for one dance with my boy before he went for a rest. Then I had a light snack, and I took a nap, too. Not for luxury's sake, but because it was necessary for the rest of the day.
Well, the nap took a little longer than I expected, too, so when I woke up I literally had just enough time to change and then head out for another booking, this one at the Innovative Missions Opportunities banquet. It was at the Hilton Americas downtown, which is pretty posh, but nothing really went right for awhile. First, the parking garage was full, so we had to valet, but we also had to unload, so they weren't entirely sure what to do with us. Then we got everything upstairs and had trouble finding our group. We actually wandered right through them once before coming to a dead end and finding a hotel employee to ask for directions. We got loaded in all right (and it's a good thing we brought our lights, because they didn't really have any for the stage. You're welcome, IMO ;-) ) Then, our mics didn't mesh with their mixer board, and so we had to try to figure out how to do a three-actor show with only two lapel mics. We got creative and figured it out, but by that point we were thirty minutes past when we planned to be eating dinner and they were about to let the guests in. No problem, we just go downstairs to the cafe where they made us reservations a little late. But the cafe says they don't have our reservation, so I have to go back upstairs to track down our contact, who has to call the cafe supervisor, who has to come down and talk to the hostess. We were finally seated, and I hope nobody got into trouble for it.
The food was amazing. But by this point, I was afraid we might not finish and change before it was time for the performance. Only because you really never know with this sort of thing. And because, you know, everything else was going wrong. ;-) We ended up having plenty of time, however, and ended up running in to a friend of ours who heads Less Than the Least Prison Ministries as he was on his way to the lavatory. Patty met several friends of hers, we ran into a family that often books us at their house, and I saw a guy I haven't seen since we went to college together as he was in town visiting family before going to study in London. And I got a free book somehow. Oh, and we did the show. It went well, too. But again, took longer than I expected, and I got home at 11.
My first thought was that I was finally going to have a chance to catch some college football. (Football has become the quintessential "in-the-background" or "watching-to-zone-out" game for me, by the way. Maybe I'll blog on that someday) And I know I'll be up for a while yet, because there's a lot of laundry/dishes that I need to get done.
And then, I remember exactly what today is. Or rather, what it was nine years ago. Oh, I'd been conscious of it all day, for sure, and there had been plenty of reminders throughout all my activities. Flags flown at half mast, for example. There was also a fireman's banquet a few floors up from where we were performing, so there was a huge American flag hanging from two fire engines outside the hotel. That was a sobering scene. But without a chance to sit down and process, I hadn't really reckoned with the ninth anniversary of 9/11 for myself yet.
Then, as I thought about it, I realized that yes, I had. Remembrance was running underneath everything I did today, from the first half-flown flag to the "where were you nine years ago" status updates and tweets from countless friends at 11:00 p.m. But the only way I could ever really combat the terror of terrorism is to do all that I can to make a world worth living in in spite of it.
Empower, enable, and encourage the next generation of thinkers, dreamers, and workers. Dance with your children. Love your family. Rest when you need to. Celebrate the truth. Encourage the church. Help others to laugh. Rejoice whenever the situation merits it. Remember those times when darkness carried the day. Embrace goodness in the face of hatred. Work on your house, work on your family. Live a life you'll love, and love your life. And live in the faith that, though the darkness has its day, its day will surely come to an end.
This is how I can "fight back." This is how I remembered 9/11, nine years later.