That morning, as the reality of what was happening sunk in, all I could really do was pray. And, as Ted says in his post, that is what we must be doing now.
Before I share with you my thoughts from that week in 2001, I want to point you to three Sept. 11 stories you may have missed. The first is about a photograph. The image tells the story and yet it’s so much more gripping when you read the details. The last two are about pilots: one who should have died and one who was ready to that morning.
- Father Mychal Judge:’everybody you see in that picture was saved’ because he died
- In my seat: powerful testimony from the pilot who should have flown American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001
- F-16 pilot sent up on a kamikaze mission ready to give her life on Sept. 11
11 Sept 2001
LORD, strengthen us in this time of trouble.
Lord, shower your grace on us.
May this trial draw this nation back to You
And not drive us further away.
Spring revival from death, peace from terror.
Strengthen us, your servants,
So we may spread Your Good News
Amid the bad. Amen.
12 Sept 2001
It’s Sept. 12, 2001, a day after the nation was attacked …
My first reaction, my persistent thought, has been hope that this attack will humble Americans before God. I am concerned that it will do just the opposite.Lord, please do shed Your grace
On the United States of America.
Do not let our hearts be hardened.
Do not let us get puffed up.
May we unite under You
And not rely on our own strength.
May we seek You, lean on You;
For anything less would signal our demise.
I was traveling that September week in 2001. I’d driven from Albuquerque to Dallas then to College Station and Austin. It was an interesting way to process the event. I would have expected to be in the newsroom (I still worked as a copy editor in Albuquerque, then). Instead I was driving around praying. Heh. God was giving me a glimpse into my future and I didn’t even know it.
Posted 1 Oct. 2001
It had been a long week and a memorable one — a week that will remain with me for the rest of my life.
On Monday I left Albuquerque for Dallas. I was going to make the rounds in Texas, visiting friends and family. Day One of nine was good — smooth drive, great weather, the welcome of a loving friend after 10 hours on the road. I thanked God for safe passage and fell asleep some time after 2 a.m. CDT.
US National Park Service via Wikimedia Commons
The phone woke me some time after 9 a.m. “We’re under attack,” said my friend, who had gone to work.
“Turn the TV on,” she said.
And so began for me Sept. 11, 2001.
God put me in an odd but good place during the attack. I felt misplaced on vacation, away from the bustling newsroom of the Albuquerque Journal. But instead of going home to an empty home after what was one of the most trying days the news media have endured, I was in the company of a strong sister in Christ — someone with whom to talk and pray about this assault on our peace of mind.
Still numb from watching footage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the aftermath at the Pentagon, I drove to College Station on Thursday.
There, the week dragged on as the friend I’d gone to visit had to work most of the time I was there. She got called in on Saturday morning, my last day in town. She didn’t get home until after 10 p.m. I was a bit frustrated but understanding. I knew coming in she’d probably be busy most of the day.
When she arrived, we left together to buy some food and rent a movie — to try to maximize the precious little time we had left together.
On the way back to my friend’s house, we popped in a Sons of the Desert CD and sang along. It was a scene I’d seen a few times but years before — two friends driving home at night in a dark truck cab save the light from the dash board, our voices blending as we zoomed through the roads of Aggieland.
And in that moment I forgot we’d been attacked, forgot we were headed for war… and the frustrations of the week melted away into pure joy, into one of the purest moments of friendship I’ve ever experienced.
Soon after the attacks I considered ending my trip and returning to Albuquerque, to the newspaper. But all the waiting and driving were worth it for that moment.
God was in that moment. From where else could such joy and peace and love come during a time of uncertainty and even fear.
I’m so glad God is on His throne and that all things work together for the good of those who love God. And I’m glad that He’s gracious enough to bless us with those brief respites in which to catch our breaths before returning to our fallen world.
His Name be praised forever!