I don’t pay close attention to the calendar. When you’re a sahm, dates are irrelevant. Is it naptime or bedtime? Now, those are the things I pay attention to!
So, this morning I forgot it was September 11. I clicked through to someone’s blog and read the date: SEPTEMBER 11, 2007. It still gives me chills every time I see that date. September 11 isn’t just a date, it’s a million words, thousands of people, hundreds and hundreds of pictures. It’s a piece of the American heart.
I was in Florida at the time. We were 9 months into our new life there. My husband, our pastor and I were sitting in our church’s office, which was just a garage apartment connected to our pastor’s house. We were just talking and our worship pastor called and told us to turn on the TV right away. The first tower had been hit. We were watching early enough that we didn’t really know what was going on. It seemed like every hour something new was hit–the 2nd tower, the Pentagon and when that next hour mark came, we started getting scared. (I know this isn’t the real time frame, but this is what it felt like to us.) To be in the middle of and a victim of a huge plan was beyond frightening. I specifically remember watching the tower fall and Les and I looking at each other and almost sobbing, “I think it fell! I think it fell!” I remember hearing and seeing a reporter in the Pentagon ducking and saying, “I think we’ve been hit!”
I’m pretty sure the schools were dismissed. I remember watching TV with all the staff families in our pastor’s living room. I think we watched at least until dinner time without stopping. It was more than a “train wreck” you couldn’t turn away from. It was like standing on the edge of a cliff and wondering if the next step would lead to more disaster and upset life as we knew it.
Months later I was in Sam’s and there was a Time Life book of pictures and stories from 9/11. I picked it up to flip through it. I got a little chill on the first picture, a tear in my eye on the 2nd but by the 3rd picture, I had tears streaming down my face. I had to look at every one…or maybe I put it back and couldn’t look at anymore, I don’t remember. What I do remember is that those images, that time, those emotions and feelings are clear.
I still get tears in my eyes when I think about the men and women that ran into those buildings while everyone was running out. I feel chills when I think about the people on UA Flight 93 who were on their cell phones, making plans with each other over tray tables and plane seats and ultimately saved 100’s of people by sacrificing themselves.
I also have a clear memory of my pastor praying out loud as soon as we realized what was going on. He continued to pray all day under his breath. It was such a reminder of the spiritual battle that was raging under and behind the one we saw on television. When the day was over we started hearing miracle stories of people forgetting their lunch on the way to work at the Twin Towers and turning around to go home. Or the toddler who wouldn’t get out of bed and made his parents late to work. Even in the middle of a despicable act, God made miracles happen.
God, thank you for providing shelter and rest even when the world is full of terror, harm and death. (Psalm 91:1)