I wrote this originally in 2009. I edited it this morning to add detail I had not previously shared.
I heard the children laughing as I turned and stepped out into the hall. A cacophony of silliness mixed with preparation surrounded me.
Sarah LOVED preschool and had such joy participating in class and learning. Colorful decorations fluttered on the wall as people passed. I turned and started down the narrow stairs...smelling the fresh Elmer's glue and the scent copy machines running. Another mom passed me and stopped, “Did you hear a plane hit the twin towers?”. I walked down the steps to the car where my mom waited (for me to take Sarah to class).
My perception was that this was a little plane, really hard and lives lost.
I had yet to realize the enormity.
Now, I will never forget those words, “Did you hear a plane hit the twin towers?”
I can picture the mom's face as she told me, though I cannot remember her name.
The radio on, we sat and listened in my mom's car. No one had a clue how big this was at that point.
By the time I arrived home and flipped on the television, the other plane was just hitting the second tower. I watched it happen...unreal, like a bad movie. This was beyond comprehension for me. I couldn’t even begin to fathom this.
The towers hit…the was pentagon hit…the planes crashed...
We watched as people jumped to their deaths. I will never forget seeing this sight over and over again. Over...and over...and over...
Then, even more unfathomable, the towers collapsed and the American feeling of safety vanished before us.
Tom (our oldest and then a first grader) I picked up early from school...and then Sarah (though not early, she only went half day). Our little Anna (not even one) stayed secure in my arms, but all my children needed to be home, like somehow I could protect them. My husband and I had already talked, he worked in telecommunications and needed to stay at work to see how he could help.
My heart shattered into a bazillion slivers...were any of our friends from the military serving in the Pentagon today?
Maybe I should have been angry, but this world (so fallen) overwhelmed me.
The loss…the enormity of the loss.
Most of us knew someone who died, and if not, we knew someone who did. My brother’s coworker was on one of the planes. We searched a list of those who died at the Pentagon to see if any friends we made in the Army were on the list.
We all searched these lists I think.
Families gathered together, clung to each other….and God….God remained our constant. I can’t fathom surviving this kind of devastation without Him.
Some may wonder, “How could God allow these things to happen?”. God is a God of love. He gave us all a choice and those choices have repercussions….not just on ourselves, but for others. He is a God that loves us and calls us to Him. He is a God that sees a picture of the past, present, and future and IS constantly in our lives…guiding us, blessing us, teaching us, growing us.
There are things on this side of Heaven that are beyond our reach, our human understanding is limited, but those things are minuscule compared to eternity….they just did’t feel like then or now. If our minds could understand all of our Heavenly Father, then the God we serve would be remarkably small. HE IS NOT.
As we mourn for those lost, we also celebrate life and a future rich with God. Sadness remains, yes….but sadness is temporal in a life filled with the hope of eternity. I have to hope. I cannot live without it. It's like air.
I will never forget....that day, the lives lost, the lives given for others.
I will never forget….how God worked that day, bonding together a nation so disjointed.
I will never forget….to share with those mourning who the Comforter really is and to stand with them, cry with them, ache with them.
I will never forget….God is, was, and always will be.
That is how we survived that day and the weeks to follow.