I remember exactly where I was standing and with whom when the terrible and dreadful news whispered fear into my ears on that Tuesday morning 2001. I hope I never forget it, and I hope I will always remember September 11th with purpose.
Seventeen years ago, it was a Tuesday just like this Tuesday, September 11th. The day started out bright and sunny with just the peaceful hint of Fall scenting the air and dabbing leaves with color. I had arrived at Jackson Elementary School to be an encouraging ‘roadie’ for my friend, Jessica Dudley. Mrs. D, as she is otherwise known to students and teachers alike, was all set with her cool outfit, spiked hair and guitar to sing encouragement right into the little hearts of a hundred plus kindergarden children when all plans were put on hold.
Adults gathered around the television screen inside the school office. There were whispered voices and deeply concerned faces rushing about in the hushed chaos of the moment. The administration watched and tried desperately to make sense of what their eyes were seeing. It was impossible to logically process the pictures.
With every moment that passed, fear multiplied. With every tick of the clock more news of more catastrophe slammed our senses. It was all just overwhelming. Mrs. D and her guitar would have to be postponed for another day. At that point, on that particular day, we could only hope she would be back with her guitar and singing about character with kindergarden students. But we did wonder if a brighter day would be on the horizon.
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 esv
My only mission as I left the school was to gather my own children in my arms. I hoped my husband would be home soon, and we could huddle together counting our blessings before God. I called my parents - or they called me first - I can’t remember those details. However, I remember, the phone lines were overloaded that day. Like an unwritten rule, we were all trying to check in with family members and friends.
I wanted for myself what so many had lost. I wanted those I love safely tucked together under one roof - together and safe.
It is good to remember. God says we should remember. Over and over and over again from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we are exhorted to remember what God has done for us, and give thanks. We are reminded through the Word of our Lord that He has never left us - nor will He ever forsake us. Our Father wants us to know His character; that He is good and He is faithful to keep His promises. Even when it looks and feels like evil is prevailing, He tells us He is with us.
(God) He remembers His covenant forever, the word that He commanded, for a thousand generations. Psalm 105:8 esv
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him… Psalm 103:11 esv
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. Psalm 37:9-10 esv
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 esv
Finally, we will get to go and see for ourselves one of the locations brought low on that Tuesday, seventeen years ago today. We are looking forward to our trip to NYC, and to seeing how the city has been renovated and restored with a heart of remembrance. We will go and remember. We will go and give thanks to God, for His goodness and His steadfast love which endures forever. We will go and remember the truth that He never stops pursuing His creation - His beloved. We will go and see the way beauty has grown from the ashes.
For all who continue to feel the loss and grieve for the ones missing at your tables… we bless you to remember all the joy of your relationships. We remember and we want you to know we remember!