As I sat with my dear friend this morning in our church’s courtyard, waiting for the service to start I said, “I cannot help but notice that today looks and feels exactly how it did 10 years ago.” A beautiful, cool morning with a brilliant blue sky. And later that morning as I prayed I said, “Lord, so much has changed in these ten years. But you, like that brilliant blue sky, have not changed. Thank you.”
Ten years ago my world seemed to come to a halt as I was sitting in my 8am class, which was either History of the English Language or Linguistics at the university I attended . Class has barely begun when someone all but stumbled to the door of our classroom, looked at us as if to say, “Don’t you all know what’s going on?” Of course we didn’t. This was before smart phones or even before everyone had their own cell phone. This person with bewilderment in their eyes motioned for our professor and whispered into her ear what I know now was the awful reality of what was happening. She abruptly announced that class was canceled. We wandered out into the hall, confused and alarmed and ambled our way down the stairs. I followed my professor into the theater’s green room where many of my classmates and professors sat fixated on a small TV. I saw a smoking building that looked like World Trade Center in New York. It was eerily silent in that room as I listened to the somber voice of the reporter explain what was happening.
And then we watched, live, as the second plane hit. There was an audible and collective gasp. I felt fear ripple through me. At some point I left. As I walked outside to my car, parked at the Baptist Student Union, I remember looking up at that blue sky wondering how something so terrible could happen on such a beautiful, normal morning. I wondered what it all meant. I drove home and watched the news for the next two days. Time, it seemed, stood still.
And ten years later I am a different person. I am a mother, where ten years ago I had no children. Ten years ago I admit that my chief concerns were, “What will happen to me?” And today as I see the same footage, I can’t help but weep and understand that parents lost children that day and children lost parents. I get that now. Today I do pray that God would continue to restore, to heal, to call people to Himself and to forgive. To help us forgive. To help us live. I pray that He would do what He does so well, to bring loveliness from ugliness and beauty from ashes.