Today we observe the tenth anniversary of the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. I don't have an interesting story to tell, though of course I remember where I was, what I was doing, who I was with; and I watched the day unfold on the news just like everyone else. But honestly, I'm not sure how to connect with the day.
I will take moments to pray for families who still grieve the loss of their loved-ones. (I can't imagine the gamut of emotions they experience as they remember that day.)
I will tell my children about the solemnity of the day.
But beyond that, I'm not sure what to do ... or not do. I could watch lots of videos and read stories, but I think I'm drawn to those things more like an intriguing novel or dramatic movie than for the reality of it as it unfolded for people on the streets of New York, at the Pentagon, and near here, just east/south of Pittsburgh.
It's so hard to enter in in a manner that seems proper and not a fabrication of emotion or over sensationalizes how I experienced the day.
The real effects on my life of Sept. 11, 2001 are mere inconveniences, not suffering: feeling more afraid to fly and not being able to meet family and friends at the gate.
This is Heather giving you some honesty here, readers, not meant to disrespect or diminish the sorrow, grief, and horror of the day for those who lost loved ones, were sent to off to war, or who endure daily physical and emotional side-effects of the attacks. In fact, to respect them, I feel I can't pretend to feel more about the day than I do. My heart aches for families who lost loved ones and/or endure on-going side effects of that terrible day. I am thankful for and to those in the armed forces who work to maintain the freedoms we enjoy on this soil. I hate that this is part of our history.
All that said, 9/11 mostly makes me think about good and evil, especially the greater evil that would rule in this world and the Good that has already overcome sin and death and will one day come again! That goes far beyond America and her enemies. On this day, I'm reminded that Scripture teaches that there is no one righteous, no one who seeks God, no one who understands (Romans 3) apart from a gracious intervention by God Himself.
Evil was perpetrated against innocent people in our nation by a group bent on our destruction as a nation. It was WRONG. It was EVIL. We need to honor those people who lost their lives in or as a result of the senseless brutality. But I also feel it is critical, as believers, to remember that there is One even greater than any national security our leaders can design. We must look to Him, not the strength of our nation or our unity as Americans, for real hope and real security.
I'll close with the Psalm I remember reading as we gathered for prayer on the campus lawn on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, having had our foundations quite shaken by the morning's events.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I think I've decided how we'll observe the day this morning. We'll read this Psalm, pray for God's kingdom to come and will to be done (whatever that may mean, even for our own nation), and pray for the families who grieve on this solemn anniversary.
Do you have plans for observing this day?