A Hopeful and Musical Reflection

The framed featured photograph of the Twin Towers (above) had a place of prominence in my current office for over eight years. Hanging on the wall directly across from my office door and to the right of my computer, I have gazed at this photo countless times for a total of seventeen years. Even though the photo reminds me of the most tragic and violent day in recent American history, the remembering has been my way of honoring the memory of those who perished that day. I decided to take down the framed photo eight months ago, not out of disrespect but out of my need to bring beauty, color, and hope into my space. I replaced the Twin Tower photo with one of Sammi Lee’s prints (below) and it did not occur to me until writing these words, while looking up at her vibrant print, that the images share a commonality of twins – mirrored reflections. Before writing this post, I saw color, life, and Sammi’s talent when looking at her print. Going forward, I will continue to see those details and I will be reminded to look inward and hold reverence for those who died tragically on 9/11, and for the countless many who have and continue to fall victim to violent and senseless acts. I am not so naïve to believe that these acts will end during my lifetime, but I am aware enough to know that the world is a beautiful place full of loving, creative, and compassionate people. In that knowing, there is hope. 🙏🏼

For several years after 9/11 I had my students write about the day on or near the anniversary. At some point I stopped doing this because the details of the day became less relevant to my students, who, even though they were the oldest on campus, were either too young when the tragic event happened or were not born yet. It is hard to believe twenty years have passed. 😢 One activity I never stopped doing was adding student creativity to my lesson planning. One of the ways I did this was incorporating art-inspired literary projects into my planning; this allowed me to see who the artists were and it gave my students an opportunity to practice visual/spatial intelligence in a reading and writing classroom. Creating art is also a healing experience, and it transformed my classroom into a vibrant student-created art gallery that changed each semester. ✨

Matisyahu’s 2009 song, “One Day” is on my get-me-going-in-the-morning play list. The lyrics* and tone seem a fitting share for today, the twenty-year anniversary of 9/11. The song’s message is still relevant. 🎶 🌎🌍🌏 ✌🏼

Thank you for visiting. Be well. 💗 Michele

Twin Tower photograph: Framed print (photographer unknown) Image 1: “Flashover” print by Sammi Lee – photo taken when print was displayed in an art gallery – now in my office

One Day
Matisyahu

Sometimes I lay under the moon
And thank God I’m breathin’
Then I pray, “Don’t take me soon
‘Cause I am here for a reason.”

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around because

All my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There’ll be no more war
And our children will play

One day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, oh

It’s not about win or lose, ’cause we all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent
Blood-drenched pavement
Keep on movin’ though the waters stay ragin’

In this maze
You can lose your way, your way
It might drive you crazy but
Don’t let it faze you, no way, no way!

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around because

All my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There’ll be no more war
And our children will play

One day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, oh

One day this all will change, treat people the same
Stop with the violence, down with the hate
One day we’ll all be free, and proud to be
Under the same sun, singin’ songs of freedom like

Why-ohh! (One day, one day) why-oh, oh, oh!
Why-ohh! (One day, one day) why-oh, oh, oh!

All my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There’ll be no more war
And our children will play

One day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, oh

*”One Day” Songwriters: Peter Gene Hernandez, Ari Levine, Matthew Miller, Philip Martin Ii Lawrence

© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton.

60 thoughts on “A Hopeful and Musical Reflection

  1. Alicia

    The day our Country was changed forever.
    A day you’ll never forget what you where doing or where you were at that moment.
    I’m saddened for all those life’s that were lost on day.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It is difficult to process that fact, especially for those who will forever have the details of that day etched in our memories. 😞 Thank you about Sam’s print. Writing helps us to make connections that may otherwise go unnoticed. ❤️ Thanks, Ingrid. 💐

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reflected over the years in your office, and within your heartwarming words shared today, your tribute in reverence to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 speaks to a respectfulness and decency, I think, we all should aspire. 🙏 Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Michele, as well as Sammi’s amazing talent ~ creative like her mother, that’s a marvelous work of art with mirrored reflections. 🎨 I think that your portrait photograph is lovely, as well. Have a nice day. 🌞

    Like

    1. There are many grander examples of people modeling respect, honor, and actions surrounding the aftermath and history of 9/11, and in general, beyond me, but I do thank you for (all of) your generous and thoughtful words. Very kind. 🙏🏼 Thank you on behalf of Sammi. She is a gifted artist, in many respects. 💖 Thank you, Phil, it has been a nice day. 🌞 Same to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. … the images share a commonality of twins – mirrored reflections. Before writing this post, I saw color, life, and Sammi’s talent when looking at her print. Going forward, I will continue to see those details…

    That actually jumped out at me as soon as I saw it – but probably because of the theme of the day! ❤

    I love Matisyahu – I saw him perform live in Washington DC in some 15 years ago…


    David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The commonality seems so obvious now, but when I switched out the pictures I did not see that. I was focused more on the contrast of the two images ~ black and white vs. color and sad vs. vibrant. Too focused on the details to see the bigger picture. 😆 Lucky! I would love to see Matisyahu perform. One day! haha I like his live version of this song, but stuck with the official video for this post. Thank you, David. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh Michele, you have expressed this memorial so eloquently. Thank you so much girlfriend. 🤗 You have such a remarkable heart and strong connection with so much compassion and empathy for “life.” 🥰 And you topped it off perfectly with Matisyahu. Oh honey, when I first heard this song years ago, I thought that it was the perfect anthem for national and world relations. We truly need healing and it begins with us, and hopefully that “One Day” will come to fruition sooner rather than later. 🙏🏼

    Oh girl, both the image of New York harbor and that amazing picture with those vibrant colors that Sammi Lee did, simply leave me speechless. Sammi Lee has an amazing eye and her heart is deep like yours. Her compassion comes through her artwork in some visionary and heartwarming ways. ❤️ 💙 💖 You rock girlfriend! 🎇 😘 🎆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kym. 🙏🏼 In reflecting on the anniversary this week, I felt like I had nothing else to say, that hasn’t already been said, or that I haven’t written many times in my classroom. That thinking led me back to the classroom and the many discussions and pieces written about 9/11 and to the replaced framed photo. I now see the memory of that day still lives in my office space, but it has been transformed by Sam’s reflective piece. 💕 You know, I have listened to Matisyahu’s song so many times and it wasn’t until this week that I made a connection to 9/11 with the lines, “When they feed on the souls of the innocent / Blood-drenched pavement.” That is one of the many gifts from poems and songs… we can learn something new each time we read or listen, depending on what we are going through. I love your thoughts about his song. 💗

      Sammi does have an amazing eye. She always has – I have learned so much about my surroundings and life through her eyes. How beautiful that you recognize her heart and compassion through her work. So true and you can see that because it is in you too. 🥰 She is also very philosophical – most definitely an old soul. What a gift and honor to be her mom. 😊 I appreciate you and your loving and intuitive words. 😇🤗😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😭😭😭 Now see what you done gone and did to me!!! LOL Yep, I try to be as grammatically incorrect as I possibly can! LMBO 😜

        Seriously, from the bottom of my heart Michele, I appreciate and respect you for you are truly living an inspired life, and you inspire those around you with profound heart and soul. 💓 I think that events and circumstances have a way of making us become more aware of life and how at a moments notice things can forever change our lives and the lives of so many countless others. 9/11 did just that. I agree with you that there are many things through arts and humanities that are just as healing as a support group. When I first heart this song by Matisyahu and saw the video, and then while reading about his background and cultural derivation, just looking at him, people would judge him as something or someone he was not. That is the one thing that saddened me when a friend and I were talking about him.

        But his song gives us hope. Sammi does that through her artwork. She is an artistic visionary and that piece of work you featured on this post is a story in itself. It is so mesmerizing, making us look in the mirror at ourselves and examining the scope of our being in such an abstract way. I simply love that piece. It has an ethnic aura about it! I have to agree with you though, she definitely is an old soul. And nowadays with a mom like you, I know she is honored to be your seed. Maybe that picture depicts her looking at you? Hmmmm…just sayin’. 🤔

        Here’s looking at you kid! 🧐 Enjoy the rest of your weekend as I now end my novel!!! LOL 😅 😂 🤣 Hugs and smooches! 🥰 😘 😍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The rules of grammar pale in comparison to an open and expressive heart. 😊 You are a giving and beautiful soul with a talent for writing eloquently and motivating others to be their best – to see the best in themselves. Cherished gifts in this world! I cannot thank you enough for being here and showering me with so much love, insight, and acceptance. And humor too! We do have some laughs. 😁 There are so many thoughtful gems in your comment, that I will carry into my day. Thank you dear friend. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Michele, Michele, Michele! My girl. I simply need to copy/paste everything you said and say “Ditto!” 🥰 You have no idea how much I appreciate your spirit and encouragement. You don’t know how needed your inspiration is on days when it seems like little things are trying to shatter your world and ruin your day. 😖

        Like you girlfriend, I try not to focus on the distractions, because those little rascals can either kill your spirit or empower you with courage (depending on how you look at it). As we embark on this brand new week, I encourage you to embrace it with a motivation like no other. Make this a positive and productive week sweetie pie! 😎💐✨💖 🖋

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I am very happy to read that I make a difference in your life. 🥰 Thank you. As you do mine. I like the idea of being empowered by the distractions. 👏🏼 I will heed your advice and embrace this week with all my gusto! I know you will too. 😁
        💪🏼 💃🏼 ✍🏼 🌠

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Life is like a box of chocolates Michele, in the words of Forrest Gump. You never know what you’re gonna get, but it’s exciting to find out and flip the script on distractions, adversities, and overall negativity. So yes ma’am, we’re taking this week by storm. 💪🏽🌀🌩️🤗❤️🥂 Hugs and smooches 💋😘💋

        Liked by 1 person

      6. OMG, he is incredibly soul-stirring Michele. At first when I heard his music, to me it seemed to have a Caribbean flavor to it. But when you read about him, it’s understandable how the messages from his music resonates worldwide with so many cultures and causes. 🎵 🤗 🎶 Thanks so much for your enriching dialogue my friend! 🙏🏽 ❤️ 🙌🏽

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely tribute, Michele; and, Sammi Lee’s print is so beautiful. I also adore the classroom creativity projects; I can see them hanging all over the classroom. 🎨🖌How fun. Creativity is indeed very healing. Have a beautiful Saturday! ❤️🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted you enjoyed my post. Thank you, Jeff, and thank you for appreciating Sammi’s talent. 🙏🏼 It is an honor to be her mom and a gift to be surrounded by her beautiful work.🎨More work of course, but I kept my students busy with creative projects – an attempt to increase their learning and engagement and because I needed that creative variety too. ✨ It has been a pleasant day. Thank you. Hope your weekend is relaxing and rejuvenating.🌞❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much.🙏🏼 Writing this post brought some discoveries and moments of reflection about 9/11. Also, any chance I have to focus on Sammi’s work is time well spent. 💖 The tragic events that occurred on 9/11 were so shocking and heartbreaking, maybe it will remain “recent” in our collective memories. Yes, I agree, we should continue to remember and honor the victims of 9/11 and other lives taken too soon by evil acts. 💔

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am one of those people who was not even born when this historic day rattled the country. Through photos and video and survivor stories, I have lived the day as best I can. It is a poignant and jostling thing to experience, but one often captured beautifully in words as the clarity of the actual moment cannot ever be blurred.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You youngin! 😊🤗 You my dear, may share a birth year with your generation, but you are not from your generation… meaning your wisdom and awareness exceeds your years. 💗 With your empathetic and observant nature, I am sure you glean a tremendous amount about the day through your research, beyond just the facts. It is an honor to share my thoughts. Thank you for sharing your perspective. 🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🥰 Aww, Michele, you are too kind! Through writing I have lived. I am proud words are a learning experience and a skill that allows me to look deeper into myself. It is something I share with fellow wordsmiths too!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cindy. I appreciate your comments. 🌻 Yes it was a sad day, forever etched in our memories and one that most textbooks still need to address. Thank you for enjoying a classroom memory with me – I am grateful for my years with HS students and for the many gifts I received. 💖 Best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I always feel it’ll be the artists, the poets, the writers, the musicians who will remember, and honour and make people not only think and feel, but “stop and smell the roses”, so to speak, and your tribute here does that so eloquently, so touchingly that it’s praiseworthy. I’m so glad I read this piece. The insight you got from the painting seems like one of those profound synchronicities of the universe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isha, thank you so much for your beautiful and affirming words. I am also glad you read my piece. 🙏🏼 Of course, I agree with you, that the artists, in all the many forms they/we appear, have the ability to transform ugliness into beauty, separation into connection, despair into laughter, and hope into what seems lost. 💖 You are absolutely right, and coincidentally, I am reading a book about the power of synchrodestiny. ✨ Thank you for being here.

      Like

  8. I can’t believe how fast the years flew by. You are right about there always being hope that things will come to a place of peace as long as there are kind ones out there doing their parts. The whole world is just too beautiful to allow a few to hurt it. The majority out there have so much love to share, they may be little afraid and shy to share that though because of the ugliness that sometimes comes through all that beauty. Even the ugly wants a place in this world, but our kindness, love, and beauty will always be there to overpower it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A great post Michele. I am sure you are a wonderful teacher. Your students are lucky to have you bringing out their creativity. It is true that as time goes on, the next generation does not view history in the same way as those who lived it.
    Have a great week!
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is very kind of you to say. Thank you, Dwight. I do enjoy teaching, which is now online with adults, but I am so grateful for my years with the youngins! 💗 Thank you, so far so good. 😄 Wishing you a wonderful week too!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was a beautiful post, Michele. I was in college when this tragic event occurred. I can never forget it either. May the souls of those who lost their lives, rest in peace. Stay blessed dear 💞💞

    Liked by 1 person

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