Everyone is asking each other these days, "Where were you? Do you remember?" AS if we could ever forget....
I was driving into work. I remember it was the day of the week I usually spent the morning in quiet prayer. I wish I could say I was doing some super spiritual thing--praying protection for the president or whatever. But, honestly, I don't remember praying over anything specific before I left the house. Anyway, I was oblivious to what was going on.
I was actually just getting on the highway when something didn't feel right. I noticed there was very little traffic, considering the time of day (late rush-hour). I normally leave the radio off on the way to work and enjoy the quiet. But, I turned it on then. And, my blood froze.
It actually took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. Then, it was everything I could do not to cry, so I could keept seeing well enough to drive. The only thing I could manage was a strangled cry, "Oh, God! Help them!" I just repeated it over and over. I arrived at work and let myself just cry in the parking lot for a bit. I think the south tower fell as I went inside.
Through out the day I alternated the mantra, "Just carry on," in my head, and with the heart cry, "Oh, God! Help them!" The term "Them" kept taking on a different identity--the families of the lost, or the police and firemen, or the survivors. A lot of the time, though, it was just a blind cry to God.
I remember little of work that day. I know I did my job. I remember my wife called me to see if I had heard the news. I remember going by the sales office at one point. They had a TV hooked up. I saw a live picture of the North tower burning, but still standing. I had a recurring flashback all day about my high school graduation dinner. My parents took the family to the restaurant on the top floor of the Trade Center. And, I remember crying when the second tower fell. In fact, I remember crying several times through out the day. I remember barely being able to talk most of the time. And, I remember calling home just to tell my wife I loved her and ask about the kids.
I remember thinking of friends I had in New Jersey, during high school. I hadn't thought of them much over the years. We lost touch and moved around a lot in the years afterwards. But, back in high school, many of them had parents who worked in the City. I cried wondering if any of those I'd known worked their now. And, whether any of them were gone.
But, that's all I can honestly tell you about that day.
The thing I remember most happened at church that evening. Many there had to talk through the hurt and fear and anguish. I just cried quiet tears. Until an ex-Marine (please don't give me an arguement on there being no such thing here, ok) told of being at work--as an air traffic controller. He described the tears as they pulled out the book on how to ground all the planes in the air. He told of how his son, also a Marine, called as he boarded a ship--unable to tell his dad where he was going. The son simply called to say he loved his dad. I thought of my daughter, who had just entered military service. That ex-Marine and I looked at each other and cried.
That's where I was. Sounds pretty mundane. I know a lot of people had a similar day. I know there were many who experienced much worse. But, I also know no one was untouched by it all. I also realize there is a bigger question. And, it's a question that, personally, I don't have an answer for.
Where am I now? Even as I write this, I'm feeling the same deep ache all over again. And, I'm crying those same anguished tears. Yes, it still hurts with an intesity I can't describe. It hurts partly because there's been no closure to it all. It also hurts because the terrorist's goal was achieved. You see, despite my faith in Christ, I am very much afraid it will happen again.
So, where are you now?
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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You said, "it sounds pretty mundane" but I think it's quite powerful. It might have been a common experience for many people, but there is a powerful honesty in your words, and your emotions really come through. There was a pang in my throat as I read it.
Thanks for sharing.