The 15th anniversary of 9/11…
I remember the events of 9/11 as vividly as if they occurred yesterday. We all do. My closest connection with the tragedy was the fact that my brother, Reed, was caught up in it. He worked for American Express in the World Financial Tower, which was very close to the WTC towers that were destroyed that morning. Like many other families, we watched the footage unfold on TV, horrified by the images bombarding us. And like many other families, I and my loved ones anxiously waited to hear from Reed, praying that he was safe, at least physically. We were among the more fortunate families, hearing from him hours, rather than days, after the towers fell. I was working for the local Fox TV affiliate at the time, and I reported to work that afternoon, thankful that Reed was out of harm’s way, and surrounded by my work family as we all watched the horror replayed for hours on end while news people and experts tried to make sense of it all. Our boss, Tom, my friends Larry and Dan, and I, kept master control running that day and into the night. One of my clearest memories of the day was when Dan’s sister came by that evening with her baby boy, and she let me hold him. Cuddling that sweet child comforted me, reminding me that God is still at work in our world, and that life indeed goes on. Dan told me on Facebook that his nephew has his learner’s permit to drive now, and that he has been told the story of how he blessed me on 9/11.
The world seemed to break that day. Buildings, peace, faith, even the very earth underneath the city. Broken ground.
Flash forward 15 years, and I am sitting in a church service at Ebenezer United Methodist Church where I have just recently accepted a call to sing and serve, leaving behind a church I have served since 2013. The decision was not made lightly or without deep soul-searching, consideration and prayer. On the 15th anniversary of the broken ground of 9/11, my new church family celebrated the groundbreaking of a new sanctuary, welcoming me into their heritage. The significance and timing were poignant and emotional for me.
At the end of the service, we each received a river stone symbolic of “raising our Ebenezer”, then went out onto the lawn to stand where the new sanctuary will be built in the days and months to come, to pray for God’s continued blessing on the church family, and to break ground. As I took my place on the lawn with the rest of the choir, I noticed something at my feet that has become a meaningful symbol of God speaking to me…
I hollered at my friend Marc to show him the feather, and he said, “That’s just like something that would happen to you!” I replied, “It’s more like something God would do,”. Then he and I dug into the dirt and celebrated the same blessed peace that holding that sweet baby 15 years ago had given me…that God is still at work in the world, and life indeed goes on.
God brings healing and restoration.
Indeed He does. I’ve just always been so grateful that my loved one came home from the wreckage that day in New York, especially when so many others did not.