Thursday, September 11, 2008

thoughts on 9/11

Today one of the news stations (NBC or MSNBC--can't remember which one) showed the 9/11 footage to the minute seven years ago. I watched it a little and could not help but remember, just as every American, the time and place I was when it all happened.

I was with my darling friend, Becky, in McDonald's in College Station. We met every Tuesday for breakfast to chat and talk spiritual stuff (and not so spiritual stuff), and we were sitting that day right next to the McDonald's television. Amazingly, we were so immersed in our conversation that we didn't notice the crowd gathering around the tv at first. But when we finally did, we moved to a table outside so we could hear each other. I remember blithely saying, "what happened?" and from the footage, thinking that a small helicopter or something crashed into the World Trade Center.

After we left, I walked to my morning class. I walked through the Texas A&M student center and saw a tiny television that had been wheeled out for students to watch. Several people were gathered around it, and gradually, more and more stopped what they were doing to watch. At that point, the first tower fell. I remember being at a prime viewing position and the place was silent, except for my "oh, my gosh." I looked around to catch someone's eye--where they seeing this?--but everyone was frozen and couldn't take their eyes off of the screen.

I eventually left the blaring tv and went to my class where we tried to decipher what had happened. Nobody knew a whole lot, but we went ahead and had class as usual. I remember that day was a pretty full for me, and I didn't have my phone with me so I couldn't talk to Brandon. That night, the gas stations were full of people filling up their tanks, and I remember falling asleep wondering if we were going to war.

The crazy thing is that I was in a class that was studying human routine, and I had been assigned to write a paper about my routine for THAT DAY. Which, of course, had no routine at all. I wrote it as best as I could, and the prof was very gracious in her grade for me. I think everybody gave each other a little more grace than usual that day.

But my thoughts can't also help but wonder, do we give grace today like we did then? Do our leaders deserve it? Or our presidential candidates? Everyday I change my mind for who I'm voting for, and even though I know I'm just one vote, today reminds me that things have to get better. We can't live like victims, no matter who we have lost or are what we are losing now due to the economy.

I read an article recently about people who had survived horrible circumstances. Scientists had learned that every person who had survived had the same outlook while they were in attempting to live through their terror: I will make it through this. It wasn't the hero type, or the strongest--it was those that thought through things, listened to their intuition, and didn't consider themselves a victim. I can't help but hope we can have that same attitude today--to give each other extra grace and promise ourselves that we will make it out of this mess that all began on 9/11/01.

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