Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you?

Where were you 11 years ago today?

I was home.  And I have thanked the Lord for it since.

It was otherwise a perfect fall day.  I was getting ready for work, as I normally do.  My husband was home that day, not a work day for him.  The kids were getting ready for school.  My older daughter was already at work (Disneyland).  My youngest was crawling around on the floor playing with his toys, waiting for me to get ready so I could take him to day care.

My husband started yelling from the den, "Hey, come and take a look at this...  Some idiot flew a plane into the World Trade Center".  "You're kidding me," I replied.  "Planes have been flying around that place for decades, and no pilot has ever hit a building there."

I walked out into the den.  The television was on.  It was showing smoke billowing out of one building.  I was watching for less than a minute, when the reporter on the television started yelling just as another airplane hit the opposite building.  My eyes began to sting with vicarious smoke, and I came to the realization that it was my own tears stinging my eyes.  Of all the inane, cruel and evil acts to ever be committed.  This was the most senseless, mass murder of 5,000 plus people.

I was numb.

Some minutes later my daughter called.  Apparently Disneyland was on some kind of "list" as a target place, so all non-essential employees were being sent home.

I exhaled.

As soon as I counted all heads, fingers and toes, I went to work; my husband elected to have everyone stay home.  The kids piled blankets and pillows all over the den and consoled each other.

At work, my coworkers and I continued to watch as other planes crashed into other places, killing more of God's children.  Why?  What could possibly be accomplished by these apparent random acts of violence?  We quickly took care of all urgent tasks where public safety was concerned, and were told to go home to be with our families.

It occurred to all of us, I think, that when we tell someone 'goodbye' as we go about our tasks for the day, we always took for granted that that special someone would be greeting us at the end of our day. But there are no guarantees.  There never were.

I try to remember to be the kindest that I can be when I depart from a loved one - even if we were fighting just moments ago.  Something may happen in the course of the day that might take us from each other.  Of all things, regret is by far the worst emotion.

I believe something happened to us that day as a nation - as Americans.  Maybe we got a little more careful.  Maybe we seem a little more fearful - maybe not.  Maybe we say "I love you" more - and actually mean it.  Maybe we hug a little longer, kiss a little deeper, and love a little truer.

When I think of this tragedy, and others that have happened throughout history, I like to think of what Gandhi said about it "When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always."

And this gives me comfort.