I was in our little duplex in Nampa, Idaho doing my hair in front of the bathroom mirror so I’d look presentable when my visiting teachers dropped by later that morning. My precious five month old son was fresh out of the tub, wrapped in a towel, and sitting contently in his bouncer with his favorite binky.
I remember …
… my mom calling and telling me to turn on the TV and standing in total shock at the images of those burning towers …
… hearing my son crying and going back to pick him up, and walking back into the living room just as the North Tower came down …
…holding him as I sobbed and dropped to my knees—overwhelmed with knowing that the world had changed forever …
… looking at his tiny little face and being filled with fear as I wondered, “What kind of a world will you grow up in?”
Ten years later, I still remember the terror of that day as I know each of you must, too. I know you remember where you were, how you felt, who you needed to call just to hear their voice and know that they were safe. That you joined with everyone across the nation in pulling out every flag, flag shirt, flag bumper sticker, flag pin, flag hat, flag coat, flag button in an instinctive need to do something—anything—to show our resolve and solidarity.
I remember driving straight to Michael’s Arts & Crafts of all places to buy some red, white and blue ribbon, only to find they were sold out. Instead I grabbed the last 10 yard roll of yellow ribbon and tied it around every tree in the yard where two months before we’d celebrated our son’s first 4th of July.
Tomorrow after church I will sit down with the older kids, watch the memorials and talk about how that day changed everything.
And as I’ve thought this week about what I will tell them, I keep going back to that moment in my living room when I looked down at my first born and wondered in terror, “What kind of a world will you grow up in?”
Sitting here tonight ten years later, I think I can now answer my own question.
And so I will tell my Dirty Half Dozen kiddos,
I know what kind of a world you’ll grow up in.
You will see good and evil at their finest hours. You will see more hatred, more atrocities and more cruelty than this world has ever known. And some of that evil will hurt our family. That’s part of this whole experience in mortality and is part of this gift of agency.
But you will also see how the strength of the human spirit will always push back and prevail against darkness.
I saw that on 9/11 when firefighters and police rushed into burning towers and people lined up outside of blood banks to help the wounded. I’ve seen it every time there’s a natural disaster and people from around the country and the world send food and money and blankets to total strangers to relieve their suffering. And I’ve seen it every time our troops kiss loved ones good bye as they deploy for missions that may never bring them home.
With all of the darkness out there guys, always remember that there is even more goodness in this world. Be part of it.
Remembering everyone we lost on 9/11, those left behind and those who serve to keep us safe.
Thrive Challenge: If you haven’t written/blogged/journalled your memories of 9/11, do it today. Tell your story. Share your memories. Make sure your children and grandchildren know how your life was effected that day.