I was listening to the radio as I drove to the gym this morning. The radio presenter asked his South African audience, “Where were you on September 11th; twelve years ago?”
Unlike me, who was preparing for my school day at Oak Hills Elementary in Beaverton, Oregon, many South Africans were arriving home after a full day’s work and preparing for the dinner hour on September 11, 2001. It was interesting to listen to the South African radio presenter share his memories of that day. The attack left him; affected. He was horrified by the deadly offense struck upon an innocent people. September 11th wounded him. September 11th wounded us all.
Today marks the commemoration of the 12th anniversary of 9/11.
Twelve years to remember.
Twelve years to honor.
Twelve years to bless.
Twelve years to encourage.
Twelve years to love.
A terrible thing happened twelve years ago. It was awful. It surpassed the imagination of our worst nightmares. It made us embrace each other. We pressed in and knit ourselves together in resolute hope and determination that we would never, ever forget. We drew close and did not want to let go.
Are we still as close, twelve years on?
Are we closer and more caring?
Or twelve years on from 9/11, are we more afraid, more defensive, more self-reliant and more isolated? Are we less trusting?
September 11th is a day of reckoning between what has past, what is present and what may come. Days such as 9/11 represent more than a tragedy. A day like 9/11 offers a choice in how we will live our lives thereafter.
So, twelve years on…how are we living?
Our family is tied to 9/11 in a significant way. I wrote about our relationship with Jason David Cayne’s family in 2010. We are blessed beyond measure to know them and to see how they have chosen to live after 9/11. Their example inspires us to continue to honor, love and remember not only those who died on 9/11 but to honor and bless those in our midst today. Our love and prayers center upon the Cayne family even more on a day like today.
So, I ask again, how are we living twelve years past 9/11?
Twelve years on, our world relationships are tenuous.
Twelve years on, our fears for tomorrow loom large.
Twelve years on, our hope and dreams for our children seem unrealistic.
What can we do?
Twelve years on, do we have the power to make a difference in a world such as this?
Friends, I believe we do. However, we cannot do it alone. We need the hope, love and strength of a resurrecting power. We need the grace of our Savior to wash every fear, every worry, every insecurity, and every dark thought away. We need the comfort and compassion of Christ to help us minister with comfort and compassion to this lost, hurting and distrustful world, twelve years on.
Paul wrote these words well over twelve years ago:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV
Twelve years on, it is my prayer that instead of turning inwards and choosing to self-protect, we turn outwards in order to bless and grow the relationships we share and will be given. 9/11 is a day of reckoning, to be true. However it is also day of opportunity to grow closer instead of further away.
Where will we be…twelve years on?