I have journaled most of my life. Not always consistently, but I have always had a tendency to write when things got hard or confusing. Most of the time my journals read like I’m writing one long letter to a friend who never replies.
Coming up this year on the 18 year anniversary of 9-11 I decided to dig out my journal from those days and re-read my impressions of the events.
Mostly I wrote a blow by blow account of the events from my point of view. Even today I remember a few of the details:
- I was on Day 2 of what was one of the most awful jobs I had ever had!
- When a co-worker told me that the tower had been hit by a plane my first response was to laugh (because really who would do such a thing) and I imaged that it was a horrible accident by a tiny plane that could never shake the foundation of those buildings.
- I remember leaving work early and going to my parents’ house, curling up on their couch and watching TV trying to make sense of the world again.
- I remember not wanting to be alone for several days.
Over time I learned a few more things:
- My Uncle had worked on building the towers
- One of the planes actually flew by my office building on its way to DC
I was only 22 at the time this event occurred. It seems like a lifetime of changes have happened since that day. Today as I dropped my daughter off at school, I am reminded that when she learns about the events of this day it will be a history lesson for her but for me, it’s something that I lived through. For some reason, this is just strange to me.
While I know this is hard to hear in the face of tragedy we need to know that God has never left us and that he will show us the good that comes from these events. We have been given instructions on how to handle these kinds of tragedies as they enter our lives. From 9/11 to mass shootings to accidents and deaths we know that our God is with us and that he has told us to respond to one another with love and have faith in his plan.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”Romans 12:17-19 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:2-4 (NIV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)
When tragedy struck 18 years ago, many people re-evaluated their lives, we found different paths. And for me, that came in the form of writing a prayer (something I have only done a handful of times) and I thought it might be time to share it.
Please be with the victims of today’s horrible events. May you touch them and heal their mortal and spiritual wounds.
Please be with the families and friends of those whose lives were taken today. Help to comfort them in the knowledge that they are with you.
Please be with the leaders of our nation. Help them in making the difficult choices that they have to make. Help them to see clearly and not act out of fear or emotions. Help them to bring our broken nation together.
Please be with our military and rescue personal, they will need your strength and courage in the upcoming days to pull through the damage and help those who can no longer help themselves. Keep them focused on the task at hand and help them not to become overwhelmed by the tremendous tasks before them.
Please be with those who are lost and confused and cannot understand these events. Help them to find the goodness that can come from such tragedy.
Finally, Lord, be with those who hate. For I feat they do not understand the root of their feelings and thereby act upon those feelings. Help to guide them, help them to see other possibilities and ways to react without lashing out with violence.
Lord, be with us all as well pull through this together. Knowing that you have a plan for us and somehow this all fits in. Please help us to see the good that can come from a tragedy.
What do you remember about the events of 9/11? What has changed about your life since then?