I've been pondering all weekend the events of 9/11. By way of newspaper articles and news reports on t.v., I've remembered where I was when the world stopped turnin', that September day. Almost all of the words I've heard concerning that time five years ago have indicated that "we are a people changed forever." I agree. And one of the consistent questions over the weekend has been, "Are we safer five years later?" The predominant answer has been "no."
But I had totally forgotten where I was two years ago, on that September day, when my world stopped turnin'; my wife reminded me. I was resigning from a church. A friend and I had co-pastored for a year, hoping to really create something different ministry-wise. But then the towers began to fall and to try and preserve the friendship and avoid some falling debris, I left. My friend continued on there, but me and my family woke up the next day to ground zero - internal injuries (heart), no job, no insurance, no idea as to what in the world we would do, where we were. Or who we might be.
Now, two years later, we are a changed people. I am a changed man. Forever. Are we safer? Better off? I don't know. There have been days when I would quickly say, "yes" - I are alive, free, living out some dreams, loosed from some shackles that had bound me for years, I can see a horizon now that I could not before. And some days I would say, "no" - I grieve for the man I was and what I did and who I knew; in fact, I still look for him sometimes in crowds. All I can do now is light candles for that man and pray and remember. Because the reality (the only place spiritual change occurs) is that the towers fell and lives were lost, ended. And there were outside forces working against me, but I also had a hand in it - if not two. There is nothing to go back to because there is nothing there; it's gone. Rebuild? No. A memorial feels to be the only appropriate response. And so I remember; I must remember. And (apologies to Alan Jackson) I have been and I am reminded that I'm just a thinker of simple thoughts, I'm not a real political man. I watch LOST on dvd but I still don't know if I could tell you the difference between Iraq and Iran. But I know Jesus and I pray to God and I remember it from when I was young - faith, hope and love and some good things He's given. And the greatest is love.
Am I a changed man? Yes. Humbled. Hopefully forever. Safer? That's a category that doesn't exist for me anymore, at least not in pre 9/11 terms. The world felt like it stopped turnin, but it didn't. For here I am, two years later; a survivor, a witness.