Gathering Strength After The Devastation!
It’s been over twelve years now but I can remember the day so vividly. It was a normal work day but it would soon be very different. The date was September 11, 2001. I was at my computer when my boss came in with the news. Apparently a plane hit one of the world trade center towers. Although we thought it was a tragedy it never occurred to us that it was on purpose. We heard that the stock market had taken a sudden dive downward. A TV was brought into the office and we watched the building burning. While there was still speculation as to what happened another plane hit the second tower. Everyone was in shock around me and no more work got done that day. President Bush made a statement in response to the terrorist attack and everyone was feeling sad and confused. We were told officially to go home and we all left in a state of shock! I remember the hollow feeling as I just couldn’t believe this had happened. That night I remember watching local prayer services of all different religions. It was as if we had been sent a message and it had stripped our human pride down to it’s bare levels. It was like OK God you win, we have nothing else to hold on to. We have been broken down and we desire to draw close to you.
At first security was on high alert. There was special efforts made to make sure nobody brought anything that could be made into a weapon onto an airplane. I remember going to a football game the following Saturday when we played the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I have never seen anything like what we went through that day. Ladies were told to empty their purses and anything not approved was kept by security. Maybe it was an over reaction as hundreds of games were played before on that field without such measures. Then again maybe it was viewed as a different world than what it ever was before. I suppose the price of our freedom at that point was in fact making sure that we were not the enemy. I am amazed that although 9/11 is a part of all that lived through those days, we have learned to move on. We were stunned, but didn’t stay that way. We went into action to fight terrorism. We were hurt but not knocked out. We were down but not out as we proved how resilient we really are!
It’s hard to measure shock but I believe that shock comes to individuals every day. The fact that everyone isn’t effected like that September 11th day makes individual shocks fly under the radar. Yet they are just as real as that airplane crashing into the tower. Recently a member of my family got a bad diagnosis from the doctor. That kind of diagnosis is just like the shock of 9/11 because it is impacting their life in such a devastating way. Most of us are not seeing this proverbial destructive plane but it’s impact is hitting a life just the same. Those close to our loved one are just as concerned as relatives of the 9/11 missing were.
I have a friend who used to work in my building. After she got a different job we would still sometimes talk on face book. I was shocked when I read a post she made stating that it was day 3 in the hospital and that her doctors were fantastic. I asked her to write and tell me what was wrong but I heard nothing. A couple of weeks later I found out from her sister that she was in dire straights. Her liver wasn’t working and the doctors were frantically trying to find out why. In the next day or two the news kept getting worse. I found out that she was not responsive for three days. Then on a Friday it got worse if that were possible. She was put on life support and we were praying for a miracle. I was in contact with her sister but I prayed I wouldn’t hear anything else. I figured that no news was good news. Out of the total darkness a little light came in the form of a post on face book by her sister. It said that she is being flown to a different hospital and she gave the name. All of the sudden from total darkness a little light was shining. If they didn’t think there was hope why would they fly her somewhere else? It was like a candle in the darkness but it was there! Our spirits picked up and a work friend said words that sounded like a prophet. In fact I believe that it was a prophesy. You see my sick friend wants to write a book someday of her experiences. She has had many that would glorify God not including this one. Well my work friend stated out of the blue “she is going to live and write that book!” The words were so powerful at that particular moment that the candle of faith seemed to glow a little brighter!
In the days after 9/11 I remember our country seemed completely together. Usually we hear arguments on policies and decision making and all of that. In those days following 9/11 it felt like we were all on the same team! I guess it is like the idea that I may talk bad about our country much like a brother might get annoyed with his sibling, but it is fighting words if an outsider pushes him around.
In thinking about 9/11 and the days that followed. I believe there are steps that we as a country took that helped us heal. The first step was total shock as the event happened. There was a time of sorrow as the news got worse. It was like getting stunned by a punch to the gut and wondering if we would ever breath again? As time passed we realized that the world did not end. We are still breathing and we clung to any inspiration we heard. One of the ones that has helped me in devastating times is “If it don’t kill you it will make you better!”
Once the shock has lessened the second step comes into play. The second step is to take the first step of action that will help you recover from the devastation. For example if you are diagnosed with a terrible disease at first you are shocked and stunned. After awhile the human spirit takes over. OK so it is what it is, now what can be done? That is the survival spirit that God puts into us! I have a picture in my mind of a basketball player going up for a rebound and claiming it before he gets bumped a couple of times and loses his balance. He doesn’t fall but he clearly isn’t in a position to go up with his shot. However what usually happens is he takes some time and rights himself, regains his footing, gets his bearings, and plans his attack. At the precise given moment with his feet now solidly planted he pushes back up with a strong jump and puts the ball in the basket!
My friend in the hospital still has up and down days but is slowly recovering! They have moved her from Intensive Care to a regular room! My beloved family member will get her consultation with a doctor soon. Prayers have been made and will continue! The dark room of not knowing will be replaced by a little light. That light is the hope that we have and the faith that we need. At the moment she has been stunned and shaken. In time with Gods help she will gain her balance, get her feet together and go up strong with her eyes on the light of faith that is within her!