I’ll never forget where I was. You probably won’t ever forget, either.
I was sitting in chapel in Bible College- just a normal day during the first month of my sophomore year.
One of the faculty walked up to the platform and handed over a note to be read. I’ll never forget the chill that settled into me as the news of 9/11 fell on the ears of our student body.
When we were dismissed, no one said a word. Some were crying. Some walked slowly, and some practically ran to phones to check on their loved ones. Throughout the rest of that day, people were everywhere on cell phones, trying to get through clogged phone lines.
Some teachers cancelled their classes. Some didn’t. Mine didn’t. And so, like a dutiful student, I went to class. I don’t remember hearing or processing a word of the lecture, but I do remember that specific class. I sat stoned, still chilled to my core. I couldn’t wait to finish that class and find my sister.
I found her upstairs in my dorm house, studying. I unloaded my fears into her listening ear, but didn’t really feel better. For the rest of the day and for days following, I felt such a strong sense of fear. It just wouldn’t go. I felt vulnerable, as if our campus would be the next target at any minute.
Fast forward 3 years, and find me in New York city on a missions trip with MTT Ministries. Myself and the other 15 or so team members took part of a day to visit Ground Zero.
And there I stood, staring into the deep abyss where the towers used to be. It was still a gaping hole, with huge piles of debris waiting to be removed. Tractor trailers navigated around, looking more like tiny toys than large trucks.
I just couldn’t comprehend the size of the chasm. Couldn’t then and still can’t. It overwhelmed me and I couldn’t speak.
After viewing the names of the victims and pausing a the fence filled with memorial flowers, our team moved on through the city to do some canvassing. We settled in Chinatown and began passing out tracks.
I’ll never forget how easy it was to witness to people. The horrific events were still so fresh in everyone’s minds that they listened intently. I personally had the opportunity to give the entire Gospel to many people, all of which listened with full attention, all with tears in their eyes and stories on their hearts. Pervading our experience was the actual feeling that God was at work. People were thinking, searching for answers.
I haven’t seen the Freedom Tower. I would LOVE to. It’s definitely on our family’s bucket list of things to see. And when we do, I will talk to my children.
I will tell them how September 11, 2001 changed my life.
*I will tell them that no human can give or take away freedom. Freedom is a gift from God, and you are only as free as your soul is.
*I will tell them not to wait until a tragedy strikes to love. Not to wait until a terrorist attack to share the Gospel. Dear children, always be planting seeds, for you never know how or when God will make them grow.
*I will tell them not to let trauma be their only motivation to reach out. Always have an open hand and a willing, loving heart. Let God bring the opportunities. And He will, I assure you. Love always. Now.
*I will tell them that hatred is not the answer to the problem of terrorism. Neither is love the answer, of itself alone. Jesus Christ- God. HE is the answer to the problem of terrorism.
*I will tell them that sometimes evil wins. But only in the here and now. Not in eternity. In eternity, God wins, and we His children will win with Him.
These are the things I want my children to know about 9/11. And so, until we are able to physically go back to the site and remember, I will tell. I will let them look with wide eyes at my “Lest We Forget” picture book that I purchased at Ground Zero. I will weep with them…do my best to answer their questions.
And I’ll tell them to leave the unanswered “why” with the One Who knows.
Let’s Talk: How did 9/11 change your life? In what ways did the experience hit home to you? Let’s “remember” in the comments, or hop over to Embracing Grace on Facebook and join the conversation!