Friday, September 11, 2009

I trembled inside when I heard all this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. Habakkuk 3:16-19

Today is September 11 and at some point today we will be forced to remember the events that took place 8 years ago. I say you will be forced, maybe that only applies to me. You see, those events are sad and I don’t do sad. I ignore sad at all cost. I try very hard to live by the ‘turn-that-frown-upside-down’ mentality. I will have to be forced to think about that tragic day. I suppose since I am writing about it now, this is the forceful moment.

September 11th was the JFK assignation of my generation. We all remember where we were and what we were doing that morning. I was living in VA at the time and was at the doctor’s office having my knee x-rayed; tendonitis. Ty was visiting that week and we had tickets to the Aerosmith concert in VA Beach on the 12th. It was the second time we had planned to see Aerosmith – the first time the concert was canceled so that Steven Tyler could have knee surgery.

I was lying there on the table with that heavy xray vest on my chest when the technician walked in and said the 2nd tower had been hit. I already knew the first tower was hit and when news came of the second, I couldn’t wrap my mind around what had happened. I said ‘What is going on, can’t those pilots see the towers?’ I assumed the planes were small crop duster planes carrying 2-3 passengers total. I never imagined the reality of it all.

I left the doctor’s office and headed to work listening to the coverage all the way. I soon realized, like the rest of America, that this was a serious threat to our nation. We were under attack, and never was I so glad to work in a one story building. We had a small TV in the front of the office that everyone crowded around to watch the coverage and about 30 minutes in, I knew I couldn’t take anymore. Eight years later, I still cannot watch the coverage. It took months to get the images out of my head of those people jump out of the window 100+ stories in the air.
News soon came that all sporting events, concerts and flight were canceled. I wasn’t headed to a sporting event, but I was headed to a concert and Ty was scheduled to fly home at the end of the week. I called Ty to tell him the concert was canceled and I was very upset about this. I needed normalcy and fun. I needed to go to a concert where there weren’t images of planes blowing up and people dying by the thousands. I needed an escape, without it my frown couldn’t be turned upside down.

By Friday of that week, the nation was slowly moving forward. Bush Gardens opened up and Ty and I enjoyed a day of roller coasters and funnel cakes. We observed a moment of silence at noon and that was about all I could muster. The next day, Ty rented a car and headed back to Florida. Life moved on.

We have come a long way since that day. Former President Bush went from being beloved to being hated. We went from being united to being divided. We are safe yet feel very vulnerable knowing that another attack is always one breath away. We know it could very well be us or our loved ones who suffer next time. We cling to our God, yet we ask why?

We will never know the answer to why God allows such tragedy in our lives, especially mass tragedy like 9/11. We know God allows things for a reason, and it is that promise and many others we find in His word that help us move forward with peace. I especially have to immerse myself in these promises, otherwise I find myself living bound by fear, unable to participate in the joys of life. You may find yourself living the same way.

Where does this leave me today? I have learned to remind myself as often as needed of the reality of knowing Jesus. Regardless of what happens in my life, this is only temporary. I will spend eternity with Jesus. If God takes away everything & everyone I know and love; I still have Jesus. If I am left with no choice but to throw myself from the 100th floor of a building, I can assure you that Jesus will be the last person I call out to on my way down… and it is He that will catch me at the bottom.

I have never watched the footage of 9/11 since that day. I have never again tried to see Aerosmith in concert. I have never again dreamed of working in a high rise building. I have never again taken a flight without thinking of what may happen. I didn’t lose anyone on that day, but like you and every other American out there, I lost a piece of innocence. We are forever changed and regardless of the issues in our nation today, I am very proud to be an American and pray God’s blessings on us daily.