As I watch the CBS special of 9/11, after spending the past week and weekend watching reports, I am reminded of my experience on 9/11. It was a beautiful day in South Texas too. It was my first year of being a librarian at my school. I went in the office to talk to our secretary, and she told me that a small plane had flown into the World Trade Center in NYC. I immediately called my husband. He has worked in the aircraft industry since the late 1980's. He designs small jets so I thought he might know something more. He hadn't heard anything, and we agreed to talk later. I had a couple of meetings, and when ig to back to my office, it was clear that our country was under attack.
I called my dad. I asked him how he was- he told me he was at his desk praying. I will never forget that conversation with my dad. That one moment is a perfect picture of my dad's life and the example he has been to me. He has always been such a strong Christian man. I tried to call my husband again, but all the phone lines were busy. Randy and I were able to email each other. We just told each other that we loved each other and that we would see each other later that day.
Throughout the day, people I worked with stopped by my office to watch the news coverage on the TV that stayed on all day in my office. I think that even though we lived thousands of mile away, we all became New Yorkers that day. It felt so personal- even though we weren't there. Later that day my son and daughter came to my campus. I tried to explain the unexplainable to them. They too watched the TV in disbelief. Their lives were effected in ways they will never really know.
The following night on Wednesday, I taught a class at my church. A friend and I had just started running. We would always run after our Wednesday night church sessions. We met that night to run. We talked and prayed together which was of great comfort to me. I was afraid of what was to come next. But, I also had a peace as I ran in the darkness on that September night. I looked up at the stars and remembered that no matter what, God is still on his throne. I will never forget that run and the feeling of anxiety along with that peace that passes all understanding.
A few years later, my parents took all of our family to NYC for Christmas. We boarded the plane and noticed Arab men on our flight. I, ignorantly, was apprehensive. After a few minutes a man with a turban looked at us and said with a big smile, "Randy!!" He was someone that Randy knew from his work. I was so relieved and right then realized that I can't judge people. And it has made me very sensitive to how Muslim Americans must feel.
Many years ago, we were visiting my grandmother in the nursing home in Oklahoma City. My father took me and my children to the memorial there. It is a very beautiful tribute to the horror that happened there in the 1990's. I am ofter reminded of the saying at the reflecting pool at the memorial. "Look and see someone changed forever by what happened here." Of course, when you look in the pool, you see your own reflection. It is very powerful. That is how I feel about 9/11, we were all changed forever by what happened there. I have several things that are on my bucket list of things I want to do the next time I'm in NYC. I love to go there. The 9/11 memorial is something that I really want to see. I know when I look in the pools/ fountains there and read those names- I will again be changed forever.
My heart still breaks for the families that lost so much on that day. Why do I ever complain? I was fortunate to have both of my children home from college this weekend. I am so thankful for that. It was nice to all be together on such a sad day.
I hope that no matter what I face in my future- I have that feeling that I had that September night 10 years ago. No matter what, God is still on his throne. He is with me and will not forsake me.