Ten years ago, I was up in the morning, getting ready for work. I turned on the Today Show as I normally did. I was 4 months pregnant with Professor. The I watched in disbelief and confusion. I went into work, into my safe little office in the midwest. I watched some more.
A couple of things are significant here in that I worked in a Red Cross area headquarters building. I didn’t work for the Red Cross; the program I worked for simply rented space from them. It was interesting seeing first hand what is done to begin preparing for a massive event that has happened. We were nowhere near any of the points of impact, but preparations began – equipping disaster trucks, mobilizing specially trained volunteers, manning phones, helping the community make sense of what they could do. In the next few weeks, I learned what the Red Cross can do and do quickly.
Second interesting point is that the small midwest area I lived in happened to be the world headquarters of a major construction manufacturing company. Because of the nature of their work, this company was put on a higher level of alert. It also meant that new purchases came in and contracts would be had. Clean up would need to happen for a long time.
Outside of those two major points, that’s the most of what I remember. I worked for a group that dealt with violence exposure and young children, so we did quite a bit of para-professional counseling and talking with parents/educators about how to talk about the terrorist attack with their young children. We did what we could to give parents and educators tools to help children process what they were seeing and hearing on tv and in the adult discussions around them.
September 11, 2001 changed my outlook on the world.
I admit though, with a baby on the way and life as a new mom to adjust to… I wasn’t that personally affected. Sure, hearing the stories brought sadness, but I didn’t directly know anyone that died, was injured or was even in one of those locations on that day. My life just went on as normal.
On year later, September 11, 2002, as the news replayed the events of that morning just a year prior, my live changed even more dramatically than it had one year prior. I was getting ready for work – as normal – and my husband at the time was in the office. He was sitting at the desk and I remember thinking that he was in quite a funk. I asked what was wrong and didn’t get an answer that satisfied me, so I asked again. I got a response like “We’ll talk about it later.” Being the pushy kind of gal I am, I persisted.
I got this response “I don’t love you romantically anymore.”
I wasn’t expecting that.
I remember asking “So what do you want to do about that.” Him – “I don’t know.” Me – “Well, think about it and get back to me.”
Then I went into the bathroom and cried. I finished getting ready and went into work. I remember what I was wearing. I didn’t stay long. As the media replayed planes crashing, towers falling and nation in turmoil, my marriage crumbled around me.
September 11, 2002 changed my life.
Everytime 9/11 rolls around everyone always talks about that day in 2001 when our nation changed. I remember that day in 2002 when my life changed. But just as our nation rallied and became stronger, so did I. Just as New York rebuilt, so did I. New York’s skyline will never be the same and neither will mine. We both have scars.
Somehow with time, healing and determination to become something greater than what was destroyed, something beautiful takes the place of what was. Forgiveness creates a path to grace. Hope is found. Faith is renewed.
As I sit tonight with Racer and watch footage from that day, I remember the other day. I can still replay that other morning in my head. I can still feel the emotions of it. And then I look around me – at the family I have now, at the husband I have now and I know I have been blessed beyond what imagined.
I know grace. I know beauty. I know love.
Precious Father, while we all sit here and remember, give us reminders of our emotions. Give us a grateful heart and a spirit that honors the sacrifices of those who died so innocently on that day. And while we remember, some of us have other memories too – memories of babies being born, memories of engagements, memories of car accidents, memories of marriages… memories of so many things not connected to terrorists. God, help us honor those memories without guilt for not feeling patriotic enough. For not feeling the right way on these anniversaries of major events in history. Healing God, continue to bring forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and hope in the lives of those families directly affected by the events on September 11, 2001. And God, bring forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and hope to those people whose marriages are falling apart or have ended in divorce. Only you know the beauty and grace that can rise from the ashes of life. But like the phoenix, Your Son Jesus Christ rose from the dead, giving hope to the hopeless. As we forgive those who trespassed against us, help us embrace the new life You have available for us. Help us see and know that Your ways are good. And thank you. Thank you for always being in the midst of our lives, even when we can’t see. Even when the despair and destruction seems insurmountable, You are there. Thank you for carrying us when we need it. I love you Jesus and ask in gratitude and praise, Amen.