Thirteen years ago, the world became a very different place. More fearful. And yet, braver.
This anniversary is always a jumble of emotions for me. The horrific events of September 11, 2001 were bookended by terrible tragedies happening in my own personal space. Death and sadness had already invaded our homes the weekend before and then again the weekend after. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, Mark and I were moving to New Brunswick.
Monday September 10, the movers came and packed us up and we said goodbye to family and friends and drove to Ottawa to stay the night with Mark’s parents. Our car was having some issues so bright and early Tuesday morning, Mark took it to the garage. It was going to take a couple of hours to fix it but we thought we should be on our way by the afternoon.
He went down to watch some tv. I ate some cereal and thought about a sad funeral happening that day back home.
Then Mark was calling to us from downstairs. Something about a plane hitting a building in NY. Another tragedy.
With the second strike, we knew it was much more and we parked ourselves in front of the tv, watching and listening. Then the car was ready and we had to go. Leaving all we loved behind as we drove into an unknown and now scary future.
As we drove through Quebec, and into the dark, we listened to the radio all the way. It was surreal. We were driving to a new ministry, a new city, a new province. We really didn’t know anyone there other than the few people in the new church who had called us. Meanwhile the world as we knew it, was crumbling.
There would be one more loss to be mourned that weekend and then the silence that follows disaster, death, loss.
Thirteen years later, as we remember I can’t help but feel that although fear invaded along with the terrorists, hope stealthily crept in too. I see it this morning as I scroll through Facebook and blogs. The words fear, love, hero, remember all jump at me from the screen.
The word hope has been popping up a lot lately for me. My eyes are just starting to waken to this. (Sometimes it takes me a while!) What I did notice was hope doesn’t travel alone. Hope usually brings a few companions with it, like the words from social media. Love. The bible tells us love drives out all fear. Love saved thousands that day thirteen years ago. It stomped out fear not by erasing it but in overcoming it.
Hope and love bring along kindness too. Like that Maritime hospitality that ministered to so many stranded after planes were grounded. I’ve experienced that Maritime kindness and let me tell you, it can’t be beat. A kind gesture can unravel even the tightest knots of fear, mourning, hate. Hope, love and kindness trump fear. Every.Time.
Ironically, I read this today in my homework for Beth Moore’s study on Esther: “When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read…And not just in spite of those catastrophes. Often because of them.” Beth Moore, p. 14
How many peoples stories changed thirteen years ago not just in spite of circumstances but because of them? Stories of bravery, love and human kindness. I’m betting a lot of those people didn’t even know they had it in them. We often wonder don’t we, if we would be as heroic, selfless, brave?
It was a day meant for terror but in the end it was a day of hope, love and kindness. As I remember, I mourn, yes but I celebrate the courage, the love, the kindness that triumphed. And with it, hope breaks forth anew. Hope in a God who loves us. Whose love and kindness won the victory over fear and evil two thousand years ago and every day after.
What are you remembering today?
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