In 2001, we rented a small house that backed up to a preservation on a lake. My boys, Nicky and Christian were before-the-sun risers, and a routine morning consisted of me brewing a pot of coffee before taking my boys out to the pier. From the gazebo, I drank coffee as the sun came up and shined away the mist floating on the surface. Some mornings I’d pray, while Nick peered over the edge for the turtle we named “Hook,” (a fish hook was caught in his foot.) The mornings we were lucky, we’d see the surface sliced by the resident gator, who nestled into the uninhabited reeds during the day or the pair of bald eagles nested in our trees. It was a quiet little oasis for me in a bustling tourist town.
On the morning of 9/11, we returned from the dock, everyone was dressed, fed and “10,000 Maniacs” was blaring through our home. I was twirling my soon-to-be-one year old Christian in my arms while Nick was shaking his booty on the floor at my feet. Natalie Merchant’s edgy voice sang “These are the days to remember…” as I dipped my heavy Christian over the sofa, and he belly laughed.
Then… the phone rang. It was my husband.
“What are you doing?”Jay said.
“Dancing with the boys.”
“Turn the news on. One of the twin towers in New York was hit by an airplane!” He said.
Music went off.
The news came on.
I nestled Christian in my arm and slid onto the sofa. Nicky plopped by his basket of toys.
On the Today Show, the World Trade Center gaped open while fire and smoke poured out. Katie Couric and Matt Lauer interviewed witnesses via the phone. Control tower problems? Something wrong with the pilot? Engine failure? Were all discussed possibilities, but then…another jet sliced into the second building.
“I think it’s undeniable this is an act of war,” One of them stated.
Nicky jumped up. “Kaboom! Crash!” Flailing his arms in front of the television.
“Nicky, come sit.” I wrapped my arms around them and held tight.
The words of the song still rang in my ears.
Today, I’ve thought about how rapidly our world has changed since that devastating day. Here is a small list of all that’s happened: terrorism, culture of consumerism, social media, political correctness, global awareness, increase in technology, celebrity worship, culture of acceptance and self-love, texting instead of talking, political bullying, Keurig Coffee makers, airport security, Oxycodone addictions, Amazon shopping, cell phones that act like computers, Drones, social protests of every sort, Christian bakers sued for not baking a gay wedding cake, multiple threats against Christianity, and somebody please explain why we had to close Blockbuster Video for goodness sakes? Whew! Depressed yet?
I’m in awe that at a time in history when Christians were staked and burned so Nero’s garden could have light for his dinner parties, Paul sat on the stone floor of a dank, dark prison knowing he was going to die. He penned the following letter to his young friend and co-worker, Timothy.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning, but never able to arrive at a knowledge of truth.”
He goes on to say, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (II Timothy 3:1-7 and 12, English Standard Version)
Do you think he was writing about today?
I believe we’ve lost so much more than the lives that perished on 9/11 in this fast paced, approval based, trying to keep up with the Joneses world of ours; and there are times I wish I could push rewind and the buildings would re-erect, and the workers would be leaning over their desks again. I’d be back watching the sunrise, brewing a pot of coffee, and dancing with my kids, instead of drowning in media. What would be different in your life if 9/11 never occurred?
Then again…have you ever noticed it is in darkness that a beam of light shines brighter? It pierces through the dark and creates focus. With focus, we see the lit path we are to take, and ahead the destination, which becomes our vision. It is in our darkest hours with which we feel God’s presence closer. I thought about Elijah standing on that mountain in I Kings.
“…And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” (I Kings 19:11b-12 ESV)
You see, God is not in the devastations, He is experiencing them right next to us. So, maybe these are the days.
Something to think about…
Prayers for those in the storm.