Standing in the Shadows of the World Trade Center

September 11, 2018

 

On a frigid January day during a visit to New York City several years ago, I decided to take a scenic walking route on my way to pay my respects at the World Trade Center site. Though I was dressed in my heavy winter coat, scarf, hat and gloves, the frigid air just kept creeping in on this Mississippi gal. 

 

I had almost made it to the location where the World Trade Center once stood, but I needed to go indoors to find relief from the unrelenting cold winds.  

 

The sounds of taxis and pedestrians moving about the busy streets created a symphony of sounds as I made my way to the World Trade Center site. 

 

As I was walking, I noticed a church with centuries-old tombstones quietly standing in contrast to the clamor of the busy New York City streets. Curiosity and a need for warmth led me through the black iron gates and fence to the churchyard in hopes of finding relief inside St. Paul's Chapel. I was drawn to gaze upon the old tombstone to read about the memory of a person who had long been forgotten. 

 

As the cold winds wove a path through the tree-lined cemetery, I read these words etched on one particular tombstone that echoed from the past a profound truth for the future:

 

"Behold and See as You Pass By

As You Are Now So Once Was I"

 

 

 

The words pierced my mind and I was taken aback as I looked up and saw that this humble cemetery stood in the shadows of the once majestic World Trade Center. 

 

On September 11, 2001, people walked right past this church, St. Paul's Chapel, and this cemetery filled with last words on tombstones and memories of people who had long been forgotten.

 

The brevity of life doesn't evade any of us from all walks of life. How should this reality of the brevity of life make us view today and the future? We should live life without fear of the future and unknown, yet take hold of the good of these fleeting days. 

 

Share those vulnerable feelings from your heart and let those you care about know how special they are to you. What do you have to lose? 

 

Put down your phone and see the world without distraction. Take time to enjoy the simple things of life - a beautiful sunset, an evening walk or a quiet moment with someone you care about.

 

Be kind to strangers - those you may never meet again. Your words and actions may be the only kind ones they experience all day.

 

Life is truly brief, yet our days and lives can be beautiful and leave a lasting legacy. Anticipate the good ahead as there can be life filled with amazing, fulfilling and wonderful moments. ~

 

Written By: Jenny Cox Holman

 

{Pictured above: A photograph I took as I realized the tombstones were in the shadows of the World Trade Center site. St. Paul's Chapel became known as "The Little Chapel That Stood" and operated full-time as a relief for emergency workers after 9/11.}

 

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MississippiMatters is a news blog of cooperative writers, videographers and podcasters published by  The Well Writers Guild, a 501c3 devoted to mentoring Mississippi writers and to addressing uncovered or under-covered topics.  MississippiMatters focuses on offering creative "takes" on our state's culture, ideas, events and more.