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Topic: Mountains (09/20/04)
TITLE: Steel Mountains
By Kristin Slavik
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I was sitting at my desk at work preparing for yet another deadline. I had not seen my children in days and my wife had moved me to the guestroom after a number of broken promises. Aside from work, my intent that day was to call an attorney to see about ending what was left of my marriage. I had heard from a coworker about an attorney that would make sure I got everything I deserved and then some. Another American dream becoming a reality.
As I looked out over the bright New York Harbor, I smiled at the thought of my upcoming freedom. No more ties, no more guilt. It was time for a fresh start. My secretary interrupted my reverie with news that a plane had just hit the building next to us. At first I did not beleive her. I looked at the corner of the next building. Smoke was begining to encircle the area.
For a moment, I thought I should get out. Then I decided that, while I felt sorry for whoever was in that building, it really did not effect me. I continued to work. My wife called. She was crying hysterically and begging me to come home. I did not listen. I told her that we were safe just where we were. That was when the second plane hit. It dove into the upper floors with an ear piercing sound. The impact broke my connection with my wife. For me it broke my connection with many things. I grabbed my secretary by the hand and started to run down the many fights of stairs. Running was soon not an option as masses of people tried to exit the building.
The walk became an excruciatingly slow crawl and my heart was beating outside of my chest. I heard the steel groan and creak under the pressure. For the first time in many years I prayed. I begged God to let me live. I promised to go back to my wife and be a better father. At that moment I was willing to do anything. Somehow my heart heard only two words in response to my pleadings: ‘Follow Me’. I was nearing the bottom floors of the building and the creaking was growing louder. The light coming in from out side the doors was so bright. It seemed to be in the shape of a cross. I cried for the beauty of the light, for the horror of the situation, and for the mess I had made of my life. When I exited the building I made it as far away as I could and I stopped to thank God.
When I saw the mountain of steel come down, my heart felt as if it would burst. I finally made it home and I held my family close for hours. When the shock of the events of 9/11 began to subside, I realized that I needed to make good on the promises I made to God on the way out of that building. I asked my wife to take me to church. That was the beginning of wonderful changes for me and for my family. I began to trust in the promises of God. Within a few weeks, a job that I had applied for more than a year before became available. At the time I had applied just to appease my wife. She said we needed to get away from the city. I thought then that I would never leave the city, but now I knew that I needed to change my priorities.
The new job was in the mountains and we were able to get a house with a beautiful view. My kids were able to get into a good school and I am able to be there for their many activities. My wife and I are working on connecting what was once broken. You could say that I traded one mountain made of steel for another mountain made of faith.