My brain is on overload with all the media coverage surrounding the 10th anniversary of the 9.11.01 attacks on America. It is good to sit here in silence to pull up my own memory of 9.11. I remember sitting in my living room with my third child, a toddler, glued to the TV screen. At first I thought it was a movie trailer. Then shock set in. I remember wanting to rush to school and grab my other two children (who were in lock down but didn’t know it). But I knew better than to panic. So I just sat and watched …not yet comprehending how this day would change the world.
Today looking back, I look at all the transformations that have come from this tragedy. As a people in general we are more willing to help one another. I wonder without 9.11 if we would have had the same outpouring of service for the people of New Orleans after Katrina? Or Joplin, MO following the massive tornadoes? Or most recently the flooding in New Jersey?
Speaking of New Jersey, did you know New Jersey is the home of a 9.11 memorial presented to the USA from Russia? This is a transformation that really strikes me as an outpouring of love for one another.
This memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2006 in a ceremony attended by former President Bill Clinton, Michael Chertoff, the Bush Adminstration Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and family members of World Trade Center victims. Recording artist Leann Rimes sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace at the dedication ceremony. Putin visited the memorial a few days later. I don’t recall hearing about this five years ago, but I am glad to know about it today.
What strikes me is that transformation from the 9.11 tragedy reaches far beyond the borders of our country. Perhaps this tragic day is a lens through which we now see a larger world. A world where compassion is more important than country pride. People are more important than politics. Real tears are shed around the world.
Yet this is one tear that will not evaporate from the tear bottle. This Tear Drop Memorial is now a permanent reminder of the attack of innocent lives. David writes about collecting tears in the Psalms: “Thou tellest of my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle are they not in Thy Book?” Psalm 56:8 KJV. These words remind God’s people that God keeps a record of all human pain and suffering. God understands each tear that is shed. Reaching out through tears is uniting. It is a place where the phoenix can rise from the ashes and fly forward, or the anger can keep smoldering and freeze us with fear.
This tear drop is a 9.11 transformation that helps us rise from the ashes. It reminds us that as we all undergo pain and suffering, there are many around us who are shedding tears, as well. Reaching out to one another we are released from fear and move forward.
There is no doubt we will all remember where we were on 9.11.01. Perhaps with the immense coverage in the media we will all remember where we were on 9.11.11. But where will we be tomorrow? Why does it take a tragedy such as this for us to love our neighbors? Why don’t we treat the this was every day? Surely the world is even busier not than is was ten years ago. We remember, but are we changed?
This is our call, friends. Notice how you have changed since 9.11.01. Do you stop and buy lemonade from the kids next door? Do you smile and say “hello” to the checker at the grocery store? Have you baked bread and taken it to an elderly neighbor down the street? Or are you just back to business as usual?
If you haven’t thought about it, perhaps this day of remembrance is a good time to do it. How is God calling you to be changed and transformed?