Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where Were You...?

World Trade Center Memorial 7/13
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

My students use to ask me where I was when Elvis died, or when Kennedy was shot, or when the challenger exploded. I loved when they would ask "What was it like to see man walk on the moon for the first time?" I cried when Elvis died (I was 11 years old), but I think I cried because everyone around me was crying. I wasn't born until 7 years after President Kennedy was shot and I was only 4 months old when man first landed on the moon. The Challenger explosion was very disturbing. I was a junior in high school and we watched that live on television in our morning class.

Statue of Liberty 7/13
Living so close to New York City for most of my married life, I looked forward to taking my children back last summer. My boys and I made an American History Road trip, stopping in North Carolina, Washington DC, Trenton, NJ, Philadelphia PA and NYC before we turned around and went home through the western part of South Carolina, GA and finally home.

It was a wonderful time of telling the stories of my childhood as they saw many of my childhood homes. They got to see their Dad's homes too. They heard the stories of how we met and when we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum...they heard about many of the dates Mike and I went on.

I don't think I could live in Manhattan. We spent lots of time in Time the morning and at midnight. It is just a different culture..I love it, but I couldn't live there 24/7.

When I took my kids to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, they understood what that was all about. My very own mother came over on a boat from Sicily with her Mom, Dad and 10+ siblings and ended up on Ellis Island. Fascinating.

Then I took them to Ground Zero. Where the Twin Towers use to be. We walked in the bookstore and saw first hand photos. You could hear pin was so quiet and reverent. (Much like Arlington Cemetery a few weeks prior to visiting NYC). You could hear people talking, whispering, recalling. Where were you Mom? Do you remember what you were doing?
My boys, taking in history. 7/13
Of course. Brendan and Kyle were just born 3 months prior. Twin babies, sharing a crib. I got the phone call. "Put on the TV!" I watched, in horror....for hours. 8:50am, the TV was flooded with news...moments after the first plane crashed into the North Towers. Live on television, while on the phone with my friend Kathleen, we witness the 2nd plane crash. I live a maximum of 20 minutes give or take from NYC. My husband worked closer. We had friends who worked in the World Trade Center. We had friends who worked on Broadway. Such an uncertain time. When the 2nd plane hit the South Towers, I went into my nursery and picked up two little babies, still sleeping, and held them in my arms. I wanted to be close to them. I wanted my husband to come home. I tried to call friends, the phones were down. I waited. I looked out my window from the second floor and could see the smoke.

The next morning blended into the night before. Our cars were full of soot and ash. My husband had to see families come in to where he worked; days, weeks later...waiting for loved ones to get off the train. Cars parked in the train station, never to be recovered. So sad.

St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity 7/13
As we talked in that little memorial shop in Lower Manhattan, my boys listened, understanding that many of us had lived history. But what impacted me that day was visiting St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church. The church that is noted as being the place where many fled to find peace on that day, and days to come. I walked in that place, and could sense the presence of God immediately. Where was God on 9/11? He was there. Present in the pain and loss.  He was in the hearts of man. He was with me that day. He was with my friends who worked and lived in the city. For that day, and many days to come...there were no denominations, no dividing walls. People found Jesus in people with skin on. That is where He is today. I believe when we break the dividing walls we can see more clearly. He is found in the men, women and children that He inhabits, in His creation that is all around, and yes, in pain. He was and He is...ever present!

I LOVE Elizabeth Elliot - she is one of my heroes. I close with a quote from her:
"I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God."