September 11, 2009

I remember 9/11 and 9/13

Yesterday I picked up Maggie from her jr high school along with 2 friends who I take home. They were all talking about having seen a video about 9/11. None of them remember that day, they were all 4 years old then. And they watched it with a sense of detached horror that something like that happened in our country. They talked about the man on the film who jumped out of a window in the World Trade Center as it burned. They talked about the building just crumbling down and the debri blowing out through the tall buildings like tunnels like billowing clouds, people disappearing as it consumed them as they ran. They were horrified as they watched video of the planes crashing into those buildings. And they wondered what it would have been like to have been in that building, waiting to die as it crashed down.

I cannot imagine that it's been 8 years since that morning. It seems like years, but not 8 years ago. It was a horrifying week for us for more reasons than the 9/11 attacks. I was homeschooling my kids at that time. Hannah was at the school for band practice though and Charles was in Phoenix for a meeting. He called around 8 or 9am to tell me to turn on the television. I remember just sobbing as I watched it unfold over and over and over and over again as the days passed. The buildings, the smoke, the planes, the Pentagon, the crater in Pennsylvania made by the fourth crash. We didn't know if it was over.....we waited with a panicky feeling as the days passed and we turned on the television each day to find out if there was anything more. It was like waiting for the other dreadful shoe to drop.

Charles came home and we watched a lot of television. We felt a strong connection with the rest of our country, stronger than any other time in our lives before or since then. We saw people praying on television, public leaders just pouring out their fears, pleading with God, humbled. People met for prayer. People wandered into our church at any time of the day to talk to Charles and other leaders there. So many questions, so many turning to God for answers.

Well, for us, for our little town, the other shoe dropped two days later. A 19 year old young man, well known in town and the oldest son of our very good friends killed himself. He thought the world could never be the same again. He had so many questions and fears and such anger in his heart.....thoughts overwhelming him as they plagued his mind. There were other factors too that I won't go into, but he felt his world was ending. He mentioned his fears to his family, but of course, they did not realize (how could they?) how tortured he was about it all. Everyone was feeling so insecure. But he could no longer see hope in his life. So in a final, permanent act of impulse and despair, he left us.

Our church and our town were shell shocked. Suddenly it wasn't just terror on the east coast, viewed for us only on a television. This act left us reeling and heart broken in our own circle, a very small towny circle. Such difficult days. We started taking every sad look or worried word that our youth in town had very seriously and we dragged them in to talk to us, the high school in town brought in professional counselors for anyone who wanted to talk. Scary days.

I cannot separate the two events now. They were extreme traumas....two in one week. People walked around in a daze, tears just behind their eyes at all times. We had no words, we didn't understand, but we did pray and sought God's help. This is also what I remember when I think back to that time.

Yet people kept turning to God. Tragedy turns us to God. Even someone who seems indifferent to religion and spiritual life will call out to God in a moment of danger or tragedy. So in a way.....a very far off, think about it deeply way, it was almost good for our country to go through something of this proportion. I hate that it happened but it shows you that deep down, people do still turn to God.

Remembering that day, that week, and seeing where our nation is these days, just 8 years later, I just think......God help us. We (I have to include myself here) are so affluent, so comfortable, proud and selfish. We are lulled back into it so quickly.

I just bought the new Jars of Clay CD and there is a song that describes our current apathy, our lulled apathy. Take off your blinders and talk to each other. We need to say things and be heard, we need a stronger sense of community and a much stronger hope and faith in God. Our lives are not meaningless.....unless you let them be.

I don't have to hear it, if I don't want to
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you
it's a heavy world, it's too much for me to care
If I close my eyes, it's not there

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television...but the sound is something else
Just a song played against the drama,
so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I'm
chilled by the current events
it's so hopeless, but there's a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
[ Find more Lyrics on ]
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see
I want to tell you (It's a heavy world)
Everything will be okay
You wouldn't hear it (I don't want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways...

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on
I don't wanna be the one who tries to figure it out
I don't need another reason I should care about you
You don't want to know my story
You don't want to own my pain
Living in a heavy, heavy world
And there's a pop song in my head
I don't want to have to hear it

If you want to hear the song, go here and find the song Headphones under 'View Tracks'.


Kati said...

It's weird to think that 2 days prior to this day, John and I had just had our first bridal shower. Grace wasn't around yet!

joannmski said...

Oh, that would be hard! Local and national traumas.

Anonymous said...

You made me cry, but I prayed for the families and friends of those who died and also for the firemen and police who worked so hard and long to rescue and clear the chaos. They are still paying the price in their minds and hearts. I remember the trauma you went through with the young man who ended his life. Parents never get over a loss like that. They need our prayers. Love. Mom