April 21, 2024

**Do Not Use**

New Director's Dialogue available now in ARC Event Library

Super Heroes

By Patricia McWilliam

I could tell the fear was rising. The anxiety, the uncertainty, the shakiness were feelings I recognized. “Stop it! I told myself. This no big deal! Look at all the people lined up to buy tickets! Some are even older than you!”

I was in New York city, in line at Tower One, the September 11th Memorial, to take an elevator ride to the 101st floor. This is the tallest building in the United States, and I was about to try and conquer my fear of heights, in a major way.

My son, Mike, and I were in New York City at the end of a long cruise from London by way of the Shetland Islands, three stops in Iceland, and Nova Scotia. Earlier in the cruise, we had visited Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Russia and Norway. I was concerned about my ability to handle such an extensive trip, but Mike was encouraging, and I was amazed at how well I had managed the busy schedule. It had been a wonderful and uplifting adventure.

Mike had a strong desire to see the finished Memorial. As a senior law enforcement officer, I am sure he wanted to pay his respects to his fallen brothers. It was, indeed, a profound moment when we approached the memorial waterfalls. There were huge crowds, but we never felt them. Our focus was on the reason for those waterfalls. The city has done a remarkable job with the museum and there were vast underground rooms with a multitude of artifacts from that devastating time. It had been an awe-inspiring and reverent day.

Finally, it was time to enjoy that incredible view. Maybe it was remembering the courage of those who had given everything that raised my spirits. It also helped that Mike said I could hold his arm throughout the visit. I was in the elevator, feeling no movement, but knowing that in 47 seconds I would be facing a wall of windows unlike any I could imagine.

They ease you into it. The elevator stopped, we walked a few feet and watched a movie. Then the screen parted, and there it was! I felt a huge rush of concern, and yes, JOY!

What a glorious sight! We could see forever!

Arm in arm, we walked around the full circle of glass, careful to stay back against the center wall, but I could see that Mike was eager to get closer to the glass so he could take some photos. Taking a deep breath, I told him he could go, and he gave me a pep talk. His last words were, “Mom, you are safe!”

I hung onto those words and started talking to myself in a sing-song rhyme, saying, “Yes, I’m safe, I know I’m safe. I am very, very safe. This continued until a few people smiled at me, and I realized that I was talking out loud! Oh my! I smiled back to let them know that I was not completely undone.”

By the time Mike returned I had gone close enough to the glass to take a few photos by myself. I was starting to feel euphoria, and not a little pride. I realized that even with a severe case of acrophobia, I could learn from those who were the bravest of the brave.

When we returned to the ground I rested on a bench and marveled at what I had just experienced. I prayed for those spirits resting there and for their loving families, and thanked God for all the blessings in my own life. I felt that if I could handle that height, I could handle anything! So, I thanked Him for a day of helping me feel like Super Woman.”

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