This post is going to be a bit different. Yes, it is about 9-11. It is in remembrance of all those who died, no matter their faith, in remembrance of a day that changed the world, and what it has meant to my life.
This morning as I read the last chapter of Hebrews, I came across the words "Bring a sacrifice of praise to the Lord." And that's just what I'm going to do today. I'm bringing a sacrifice of praise to the Lord for what 9-11 did to change my life.
It was a normal day for us. Samuel and Katie were at school, Amie in Macon with her family, Jd in Washington DC where he lived at that time. We were getting ready to leave home to run errands. John was watching the Fox News Channel as I dressed. We saw the footage of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center and heard the news reports and then suddenly they announced that a second plane had struck the second building. "We are under attack," I recall Steve Doucy saying. I remember feeling ill and frightened and shaken.
But the needs of the world, what this meant to us, was yet to come. We left home to tend to our errands, a rather important errand. I remember walking into the bank in the next town and it was obvious no one knew. Everyone was simply going about business as usual. It felt almost surreal to me.
We rushed through the errands and left town. As we did, I recall passing a small barber shop on our right and I saw everyone in the shop turned towards the tv in the corner staring...Then a little beauty shop on the left and again, everyone was turned towards the tv. I watched as mouths dropped open. "Turn on the radio, John, I think something more has happened." I felt I was choking. I remember being silent as we heard the news report that the towers had collapsed. We drove a good five or six miles before I could speak.
"Is this it, then? Is this the end of the world?" I asked John with a quavering voice. And here's where my life was changed, even before he answered, reassuring me that no this wasn't the end...
You see, until September 11, 2001 I'd had this idea in my head of the end days. I'd have my children and grandchildren all gathered around me. Like a mother hen, they'd all be tucked safely under my wings, and I would protect them and carry them along with me...Suddenly I realized that this dream scenario was not reality at all. That my children, some of whom made a decision for Christ a long time ago and chose to forget, and some who have balked despite being faithful attendants at church were not going to be under my protection. There was no reassurance anywhere, only facts. Without my children making a decision to accept the salvation Christ offers, I might well never see my children again should I die and my heart ached with the burden.
We didn't lose anyone in the twin towers. We lost the same things othesr in our nation lost: a sense of security, a feeling of right and power and invincibility. We've since faced the realities of watching our nation struggle with what future attacks might mean and watched too as our nation has struggled financially. We're vulnerable. We all know it. Nothing seems to have been done to satisfactorily limit that vulnerability.
But personally, I've changed still more. I've become aware that as a Christian, I must continually pray for others. Not just my own children but the family members of others who have chosen to turn their backs on Christ altogether. I became a prayer warrior. I didn't intend to be. I didn't plan to be. But I am.
I've watched my husband change. As a father and husband he was already a good man, but 9-11 has made him a better man, a father even more willing to open his heart to his children and wife. I've watched as he too became a prayer warrior, as he began to actively take on the role of head priest of our household and family and I've wept often as I've heard him go before the Lord to pray for each of us with the burden of our hurts and troubles upon his spirit.
We began to move beyond just going to church now and then to become active members of the congregations we were blessed to join with. Had you asked me ten years ago where we'd be in ten years, here is not the place I'd have described. I'd not have answered that we'd have become advocates for the lost, that we would have helped build a new church, that John would be worship leader at our Messianic Congregation, that I would find myself often confronted by strangers who needed prayer, to find myself so convicted that I would tend faithfully to those prayers day and night until an answer was received. I say that humbly...God has impressed upon the need to be faithful. Before I was pretty much a mouthpiece who said "Oh sure" and promptly forgot. I often find myself now going before the Lord with prayers for people whom I've never met and I am humbled that they entrusted this task to me, a scatter brained homemaker in the middle of nowhere in particular.
I would not have said I'd have been driven to seek God on a more personal basis, to truly desire a personal relationship and not just an empty sky upon which my words bounced back down to me. That we would seek out His word and His teachings and His outpouring upon us daily, that we would travel solely for the sake of experiencing His glory in an outpouring of revival, would willingly devote our weekend to going to church,would forgo other programs in order to hear an inspiring sermon on tv...
Nor would I have experienced a life that is fuller and sweeter. I would not have felt so compelled to say "I love you," "I forgive you", "I am sorry,", "Thank you," to all who merited those words. To let go of those stubborn deeper hurts and scrub away at the stains left behind. To stop frequently in my day and be grateful, if only for the soapy dishes and warm water, the pot of food steaming on the stove top, the joy of sparkling clean glass, the beauty of a cobweb strung in a tree and glazed with dew, the sound of a child laughing two aisles over in the grocery store.
Nor would I be writing these words for a public I've never met to read. 9-11 made me mindful that the time to do those things we dreamed of doing was here and now. Almost ten years now I've been writing and sharing my life and for ten years, I've had the joy of hearing from others who were touched by something they read, for simply putting into words the joy of making home a haven, of appreciating God's creations, of being so caught up in the wonder of normal everyday tasks.
So today, I bring the sacrifice of praise before the Lord, grateful for what 9-11 did to me, for taking me up and shaking me awake and teaching me that NOW is the day and the hour and the moment to live and love and praise.