10 Years Later

I know.  Everybody and their little brother is going to be blogging about this today.  Often I would avoid adding to the cacophany of voices all saying the same things.  In this case, I have avoided the topic for long enough.

Ten years ago, I was twelve.  A seventh-grader, I’d been wearing braces for about nine months.  One fateful Tuesday morning, I was working on my Latin, trying to finish it up before we had to leave for an appointment with my orthodontist.  My memory is a little shaky on whether I completed the assignment or took it with me, but I do remember that as I walked out of our schoolroom/office, my mother was turning off the television.  The last image I saw was of a building being enveloped in an orange and grey cloud.

I figured it was some commercial, or maybe one of the action movies I’d seen promos for occasionally.  In any case, I didn’t think much of it.

At the orthodontists, they had the radio on.  Normally the station would have been playing music, but they had interrupted that to give breaking news.  I did not pay much attention, being much more interested in what was going on in my mouth than in anything going on at something called the “World Trade Center.”   I didn’t even know where that was.

Mom, of course, understood the import of what was coming over the radio.  So did the other adults in the office.  Still, I remained barely cognizant of it until later, when I saw a full broadcast.  That was when I recognized the footage I had seen before my appointment.  I had seen the shots of one of the hijacked planes hitting a tower.

As a twelve year old, I was shocked and a little scared, but normalcy returned fairly quickly.  Granted, I saw several pieces on TV later which dealt with the survivors and the families of those who died that day.  But I could not let myself be dragged down by it.   It would have been very easy for me to be overwhelmed by the things I was hearing, besides being fighting mad at the people who had attacked my country.  But I did not lose anyone I personally knew, although I have since met people who did, so the loss for me was more academic than personal.

Where do I stand, Ten years later?

I don’t have braces now, for one thing!  Seriously, though, I’m much more aware of the threats to our nation today than I was ten years ago.  Of course, that comes with being 22 instead of 12, but I also understand much more of the tireless efforts of our protectors to keep us safe.  And I still have confidence in the One who holds the whole world in His hands.

What does 9/11 mean to me, as a Christian?  It’s a dramatic reminder that we do not know the hour or the day when we will be called to give an account to God for our lives.  The people who died went to work that day just like any other.  They weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary.  That can happen to anyone, not just those who live or work in potential terrorism targets.  The other day on my way to and from work, I passed two fender-benders, both of which appeared to have occurred only moments before, and an ambulance.  People die every day from car accidents (the two I saw were minor).  Tragedies happen in workplaces.  People are murdered for whatever reason.  Our lives are fragile.

This being the case, 9/11 reminds me that I need to live each day as if it was someone else’s last.  My witness could be important to their future.  As for me, I know where I’m going.  Heaven isn’t just a someday for me.  I’m enjoying fellowship with my Lord here and now.  But I am looking forward to the day when I will see my God face to face.

It’s sobering to look back ten years and think how far we’ve come.  It’s sobering to look ahead ten years and think how far we have to go.  But in the words of a song by Jim Cowan, “when it’s all been said and done, there is just one thing that matters.”  Here’s Robin Mark singing it.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Growing Up, Theological Musings, Young Adulthood

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