Monday, September 11, 2006

It really is all about who you know...
Or at least Who knows you.

This morning I tried to find the words to explain to DD what happened 5 years ago.

You see, our morning routine includes the tv. We turn on my favorite local channel for weather and news and noise. DD needs more than just our early morning, light-hearted (y, right!) banter to get her moving and ready for school. She needs NOISE to disturb her sleepy-headedness and get her alert and sorta cooperative. And as you can guess or know from your own personal morning routine interaction with the tv/radio/internet news, the references to the terrorist attacks on 09-11-2001 were almost continuous.

As DH was sitting on the foot of our bed, watching the local news anchors discuss their personal memories of that horrible day, I asked him if he remembered it clearly too. duh. At that time, his job was as a claims adjuster for a major insurance company handling home-owners claims (that web link was intentionally not included!) His office was our spare bedroom, and he traveled to inspect claims in his unbelievably large territory 4 days out of 5. 09-11-2001 was one day he had set aside to work in the office and do paperwork. (In retrospect, I am soooo thankful he was there with me and DD that morning.)

I was working part-time then and at home that day too. My mom called us from her job and told us to turn on the news. We sat together and watched the 1st tower burn, thinking of all the people that were perishing there. We watched the 2nd plane fly into the 2nd tower live, like most Americans. We were glued to our tvs. The phone didn't ring. It didn't ring all day, not even for DH's job. I called my boss who was scheduled to fly on a charter flight to Washington DC that day for a conference and begged him to not go - not yet knowing that all flights were being returned to airports - any airport, anywhere.

We cried when the towers fell. I held DD tight and whispered my love into her sweet, nibbly ears. I prayed for her safety and protection.

We all have very distinct memories of that day 5 years ago. It was a pivotal point in the lives of every American and most people even outside the US.

But what I wonder is this... (and stay with me to the end)

What difference does it make?

What difference did September 11 make in each of our lives?

Do you remember the date that JFK was shot? or President Reagan? The shuttle explosion(s)?

Pearl Harbor is the only date that sticks in the memory of even those of us who were not yet living. Dec 7, 1941. But think about this.... We don't even have to put the year at the end of Sept 11 to know what we're talking about.

It changed us individually and as a nation. The collective heart and soul of the nation and its residents was changed forever.

But 09-11 changed our daily lives too.

Yes, many many many of us said good-bye to loved ones as they left to serve in the military in search of terrorists who colluded in the attacks - or other attacks - in some way. I'm not going to get into the debate over our military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Yes, many many many of us lost dear loved ones that day. Their hearts still ache in a deep, piercing way that I can't allow myself to imagine.

But has it changed us individually? Emotionally? Mentally? Spiritually?

I will admit that in many ways, my life is much more like it was on September 10, 2001 than September 12. There are more gray hairs on mine and DH's head. DD is older and more mature. But I get up each day and do my thing, taking for granted the lifestyle and freedom and safety provided to me in my middle-class, not-at-all suburban but more rural, wife/mother/employee American world.

Still, what difference does it make?

I think one of DD's questions got to the heart of it for me.

DD: "So what happened to the people in the buildings and on the plane with the bad people?"

me: "They died."

DD: "And where did they go when they died?"

me: "Well, sweetheart, they either went to heaven and to hell."

DD: "What about the bad people who crashed the planes? Where did they go?"

me: "Well, you see they didn't know your Jesus and He didn't know them. So..."

DD interrupts me, she knows the answer: "So they went to hell."

me: "Yes, they did a bad thing. But the bad thing didn't make them go to hell, did it?"

DD: "No, they didn't know Jesus and that made them go to hell. Can I take juice in my lunch box today?" (the amazingly fast change of subjects still surprises me.)

What difference does it make to me and DH and DD? It makes me soooooo thankful for the sacrifices made by the military families around our country. It makes me realize that the small town I grew up in and now raise my DD and Peanut in is a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful place. It makes me realize that simply the fact that I was born in rural Alabama, USA, provides a security and safety and peace that most people in the world will never know. Heck, most Americans don't know how great I have it. We have reliable utility services. We have relatively uncorrupt police protection. We have safe, well-maintained roads. We have access to quality medical care, safe food sources and affordable clothing and housing - without having to grow, pick, weave and sew our own clothing, etc.

I am truly blessed.

But, more than that, I am blessed by knowing Who knows me.

If you don't know my Jesus, then everything you do that is good and wholesome and sacrificial is for the sake of the action, or your self-esteem and peaceful night's sleep, alone. It's all about Who knows you. Does Jesus know you? When you reach the end of your life, what and who will you face for eternity?

Because there is an eternity.

There is a God. A TRUE GOD - and only one.

There is only one way to that God. You will never earn it. The standard is too impossible and the price too high. It's a simple gift. All you do is accept the gift.

There is a heaven and a hell.

There is a devil.

Whom do you serve? You have to choose and not choosing is a choice and that choice makes a difference for all eternity.

a few links that are worth a few minutes of your time today, if not any other day.

Remember our blessings today and every day... but especially today. And thank you for letting me share my memories and perspective on it all.

p.s.: I finally found a link that I would like to share. A minister from San Antonio, TX, Max Lucado has a true gift with words. He was asked to share during the national prayer vigil immediately in response the 09-11 attacks. Please, if you've made it this far in my post, please follow this link and read his words. It's worth your time, I promise.

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