Do you remember?

Cathy Brownfield

Do you remember where you were, what you were doing, Sept. 11, 2001 when you heard about the attacks on our way life, physically felt in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in a field in western Pennsylvania within an hour of us? Do you recall your reactions to the event? Outrage, fear, cocooning, holding close the people you loved. That was 21 years ago this weekend. Babies born that year are all grown up now, and look at what they have faced with the rest of us since late 2019.


There is a sign board in front of the high school in the town where I live. I can remember reading there, When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I recall it a lot longer ago, when I was in high school and educators said the same thing in classes and to athletes. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

At this point in time, maybe it doesn’t matter so much what caused us to reach these chaotic times that drive people to have suicidal thoughts, depression, hardened hearts; to decide they just don’t care anymore, and what’s the use of trying? Maybe what matters most is kindness and compassion. Do you recall the Golden Rule? Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do you want to feel judged, not enough, not good enough? Or do you want to be respected, accepted, loved?

Everyone has something they are afraid of. Everyone has a time when they need someone to listen, someone to help, someone they can trust. Everyone gets into something over their heads at some time or another. Everyone makes mistakes, just not the exact same ones, and some of us make doozies because we want to do everything right! But even the worst mistakes, this, too, shall pass.

And there is something called “forgiveness.” It isn’t just something you gift to someone who has hurt you. It’s a gift you give to yourself, when it’s done right, because you can let it go and move on, placing one foot in front of the other, living your life because you have also forgiven yourself. It’s done and left behind. Move on.


And there is something else. A lot of the bullies from school grow up and learn from life that we all have more in common than we might have thought, or as my dad used to say, everyone puts their pants on the same way. Do you know what King Solomon of old wrote?

The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Then I thought in my heart, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also …”

We leave this world with the same possessions we had the moment we were born: nothing except the lessons we have learned from our life experiences. We are not our experiences. We are the products of our lessons, the persons we chose to become, the persons we choose to be.

Strength: the quality or state of being physically strong; the capacity … to withstand great force or pressure. Never give up. You’ve got this. You can do this. Because when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, Visit the website at FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.