9/11

Six years ago today, I was pregnant with Ruth and one week past my due date. The day before, Sept. 10, was my last day of work and I had been busy getting ready for the new LIFT group that was coming in the next day. Some of our international staff from CAMP-of-the-WOODS who had stayed on for some post-season work were headed to NYC for sightseeing on Monday, which was a beautiful day. They had a chance to go to the Empire State Building and to the top of the World Trade Center. The next day, Sept. 11th, the international staff headed to Kennedy and LaGuardia to go home to Poland and Ukraine.

So that morning, Sept. 11th, after Al left for work, I headed to the couch. I was pretty uncomfortable at night (remember, I was overdue at that point!) and my back was really sore. It felt good to lie on the couch with my back against the couch back. Al was going to be home at lunchtime because we had an appointment at the hospital for an ultrasound and non-stress test to make sure the baby was doing fine. I had the TV on but I fell asleep partway through Little House on the Prairie. The ringing phone woke me up. It was my sister who asked me if I was watching the news. I changed the channel from Little House to a news channel and saw the World Trade Center on fire. My sister told me that a plane had crashed into it. We were talking and watching when we both noticed (in a very surreal way) another plane aimed for the second tower. We were shocked and like everyone else, we knew that it had to be something intentional. While we stayed on the phone, we witnessed the same thing that the rest of the U.S. did in shock as first one and then the other tower fell. As more reports started coming in from Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, the shock became horror. What was going on? Where was it going to happen next?

Later in the day, in the ultrasound room, the technician was almost in tears. She performed the ultrasound (said the baby was 10lbs!) and wanted to let me know how good it was that I wasn’t having the baby on that day. She suggested how terrible it would be for any babies to share the day of something so horrible. Most people we encountered that day looked shocked and we probably mirrored the expression in some way.

Lots of things changed immediately after the events of Sept. 11th. There was non-stop coverage as the country’s fear and sorrow turned to outrage and deep grief. We were all glued to the TV and at some point, we started turning it off. The flights resumed slowly and our international staff made it back to their countries after stringent security checks. One week later, Ruth Moriah was born (at 8lbs not 10, thankfully!) and I became absorbed, to say the least, in caring for her and dealing with motherhood for the first time.
Speeches were made, action was taken, men enlisted and arrests were common. People were suspicious of anyone who looked even remotely Muslim. The christian community welcomed those who were making their way to the churches after a long absence or for the first time. Grief seemed to galvanize – for a time. Some christian leaders suggested that this was God’s judgement on all homosexuality and immorality in our culture, in fact blaming it on sinners. Other christian leaders were quick to denounce such judgement. A lot of christian leaders suggested we put aside our differences to mobilize against our common enemy. Political leaders talked about ‘evil’. The country became fixated on justice.
So where are we now?

Well, I have to say that I don’t know how much has really changed for us because of the events of 9/11. We didn’t personally know anyone killed in the buildings or planes. Our relationship with the event is of someone who watched it from a distance and felt the potential implications. We know that flying is more complicated than before. Crossing the border is harder.

Someday, I will share the event with my children as history. Thankfully, I can do that in my own home with a biblical worldview. One that offers hope even in the midst of suffering, especially in the heat of suffering. Some truths I know – God is sovereign over ALL events and people. Suffering and pain are the result of sin in the world, the curse of Adam. God is an ever-present help in time of trouble! We are called to repentence and holy living. The cross of Christ is ever before us to save and sanctify us. The power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in me.

“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD
is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:15-19

So I am called to joyfully number my days, redeem the time, resist the devil, live a holy life, suffer and endure, always looking forward to the return of our King and a glorious eternity with God.
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