Yearly, on this date, I try to remember what it was like on September 11th. It was 2001 and I was a Junior at North Polk Community High School. We had just gone done with Marching band practice which started at 6:30 with our band director, Mr. Haack. We went inside, begin to get ready for the day, when someone quickly rolled in a TV to the band room. I sat down in a chair and for the next several minutes simply took in images that I would see for the next several months and years. It was unbelievable. The life that I had known, the protected life that I had lived, the United States that I had seen as untouchable, was being touched. And it was being attacked in some ways. I had heard about things overseas like this. Where people would blow up bombs in cars, hijack airplanes, kill leaders, but I had been basically sheltered and had kept those things at arms length. I didn’t want to deal with what was happening in reality overseas.
As I sat there and watched what was happening in NYC, I kept thinking of different people that I knew and loved and cared for and wondered if they were going to be alright through this day. I was a kid in the middle of Iowa, I don’t think there was any danger at that point, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that. For the entire day, there was a cloud of darkness in the emotions of those throughout our school. For the next several days there was a sense of urgency from students and faculty to deal with the emotional issues at hand. The reality is that we really didn’t do that well. We weren’t sure how.
As I sit here in my office 8 years later, I feel some of the same things that I did before September 11th, 2001. The apathy and complacency in the tragedy of the world is not close enough to home for me to even think through it well. I regularly hear messages on National Public Radio that talk about a bomb blowing up somewhere or some sort of terrorist coming after a national leader or the issues in Iran or other things, but I tend to keep them at arms length so that I don’t really have to emotionally deal with them.
When I am not close enough to the situation to know the people, there seems to be a cold lack of love. And as I look at scripture, it indicts me in this area. Jesus said, “Love God, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” My neighbor is really anyone that I might have a chance in coming in contact with. I have the opportunity to come in contact with really anyone on this planet. And to be aware of the issues overseas is something that can be a part of this love for the neighbor that Jesus talks about here.
The day that the safety net seemed to disappear 8 years ago, I think was a day that I must continue to remember. That my country cannot be my safety. That the only safety that I have is in my God and in the fact that he has saved me from the punishment of my sins which is certain death forever. I have been saved and that is the only thing that I can say is sure safety. While I love my country and respect the leaders and the things that happen here, I can honestly say that if this country were to fall apart, I don’t think that my faith would be shattered because my faith does not hold it’s root’s in this country. It is truly with the God of the universe.
8 Years ago…my faith might have been in the things that my country made possible. My faith has grown and I look back on that time as a faith builder.
I challenge myself every year to take a moment and remember what that faith builder was like. I also take a moment to thank God for my country and pray for the leaders of this country. I pray for those that serve our country as servicemen as well as those that would want to hurt our country. Would you pray with me today?