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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

eleven.

I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. Before terror hit our country in the most keen and painful way, it was already a memorable day for me: 9/11/01 was circled in red on my calendar because it was my first day of High School. I remember waking up early, reading my Bible like I always did, and hopping in the shower as Mom prepared the fresh, new books on our kitchen table. Being homeschooled meant we would be right there all day - and I loved it like that. I remember being excited - a new chapter of life, a new season beginning... another step towards growing up. I remember rinsing the shampoo out of my hair in the shower and humming some pop song when I heard a knock at the bathroom door. Through the steam, Mom told me to hurry up - we needed to go over to Scott and Belinda's house (we didn't have cable TV at the time) - I asked, "Why?" through the shower curtain. And Mom quietly said, "An airplane somehow flew into the World Trade Center and lots and lots of people are dying...hurry... and pray." Her voice was strained, scared. It sounded like she'd been crying. She shut the door and I rushed to rinse the shampoo out of my hair. I skipped the conditioner. It didn't really even matter at a time like this. I remember standing there under the hot water and thinking - I didn't really even know quite what the World Trade Center was. I'm a born and raised California girl - and I'd never even been to New York City; but somehow, it hit me hard. With just that fragmented piece of information - I just knew, somewhere deep in my heart, that this was big. And that it was terrible. I pictured myself just two years before - on my way to visit Israel on a church trip, and our layover was in New Jersey. I remembered standing at the big window in the Newark airport, straining my eyes over the sea of sparkling lights in the inky dark night - and seeing those two very tall towers that Dad pointed out - to me, they looked huge, unshakable, steady...just like America. Now, I wept. Looking back, I really had no idea how monumental this event would be for our nation, for my life - my perspective. As I stood there in the shower, all I knew was that people had died and this was big... and bad. I didn't understand then that our country was under severe attack by terrorists who wanted us dead - in fact, at this point, no one even knew it was a terrorist attack. I didn't know how many families would be left fatherless, motherless, childless. 

I had no idea the days and weeks ahead of our country - I had no idea that countless firefighters and rescue workers would be sifting through that toxic, fiery rubble for months to come, desperately looking for signs of human life - finding fragmented pieces of torn apart, unrecognizable bodies. I had no idea the way my generation would forever be changed by the events of that day. No idea that my life and perspective and heart would be altered. No clue how this event would shape my generation, how it would color how young people viewed everything and how the future would be decidedly marked by it. 

That the first day of High School was a stepping stone into a less-innocent mindset. I didn't know how drastically America would change - from the economy to the way we traveled - to the bloody war that would soon begin, taking from our lives people we loved and treasured. I knew none of these realities that early morning; but I wept, nevertheless. I don't think I'd ever really wept before. Oh, I'd cried. But never wept, not like this. I was just 14 and my life had mostly been the picture of happiness, innocent, and peace. But somehow, my heart knew - my heart reeled and grieved and my body shook with sobs that morning for the people in the rubble, the people who lost family members, loved ones... the kids who started High School just like me that day, who would come home to an empty house and a missing Dad or Mom. I spent that first school day huddled in front of the TV in shock with close friends and family. 

I started High School on 9/11, but not in the way my teacher-Mom planned. Instead of fresh textbooks and newly sharpened pencils, I watched CNN while my perceptions of life, dreams, loss, my future, my country, and the world shifted. A sense of fear, maturity, and a new reality set in and changed my heart forever. But I was one of the lucky ones. My heart ached for those who were there, who were directly affected. And it still aches to this day.
Our country reeled in pain, sorrow, and shock that Tuesday morning. And eleven years later on this Tuesday morning, I don't really think we've stopped reeling. I know I haven't even tasted the very tiniest tip of the iceberg of horror and devastation that some Americans suffered, and continue to suffer, because of 9/11. The effects of the terrorist acts that fateful day are very far reaching, monumental and defining in our nation's history. 

Today, High School is long since completed. I'm now an adult trying to figure out life in my twenties. And our country and personal lives have taken many turns and ups and downs since the horror, injustice, and unthinkable loss and pain we experienced on 9/11/01. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with those who experienced loss that day. Who lost loved ones, family, friends, happiness, health, peace of mind, dreams, and faith. Those who lost life, hope, and love.

Eleven years later, my prayer is this: that America takes our broken pieces, the suffering, the loss, the confusion, the pain, and the fear that still haunts us - and that we give those pieces to God. For, after all - He is the only one who can heal and mend, redeem and save, give peace and restoration.

Hug somebody you love today. Life is precious and can change in an instant.

XO

Erin


// Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
and all that is within me, 
bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits - 
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit 
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord works righteousness 
and justice
for all the oppressed. // 
-Psalm 103:1-6

25 comments:

  1. This was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes, Erin. Thanks for writing. Thanks for being brave.

    xo,
    Jennifer

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  2. I don't think anyone will every forget where they were 11 years ago. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. I remember coming in to second hour of sixth grade and being told. It was scary that while I was outside playing football, people were losing their lives and loved ones. Our principal came in and said we had to turn the tv off. Being 11, I had no idea what was going on until I got home and my parents explained it to me. Then my jr year of high school, my theater class performed monologues from kids and staff of a high school close to Ground Zero. It's still so hard to see and talk about.

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  4. Beautiful. I don't think I'll ever forget that day and how I felt.

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  5. Thank you, Erin for your beautiful words and thoughts and comments. I don't think any of us will ever forget all of our emotions on that day, nor should we. Thanks for standing strong and for always giving God glory in the dark times too :)

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  6. Very well written. Beautiful, moving, and true. The Lord has blessed you with a gift of words, sweet friend.

    Xo, Bethany

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  7. What wonderful thoughts, very moving. It's so important to stand strong in our faith, especially in times such as these!

    morgan
    quitetheblog.com

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  8. This is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this.

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  9. Tears in my eyes. This was beautifully written. I know I'll never forget that day. xoxo

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  10. I was in first grade when this happened, so I have no memory of that day. :c

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  11. Hi Erin,
    Thanks so much for visiting and following my blog. I am following you now.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

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  12. "Life is precious and can change in an instant". So touching. So true. It's hard to believe it's been 11 years. My heart aches with you, girl.

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  13. What a touching and thought provoking post, Erin. I was at my very first piano lesson on that day eleven years ago...we walked in to the horrific sight on the television. So tragic...

    xo
    purposelyathome.blogspot.com

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  14. Life is oh so precious.

    I remember exactly what I was doing as well.

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  16. such an eery image, gives me the chills. I think we will all remember where we were that day.

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  17. U have pretty nice blog. I am loving it.

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    xoxo
    ysophisticates.blogspot.com

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  18. Erin, I appreciate you sharing and your transparency. Blessings.

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  19. such a beautiful post, thanks for sharing!

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  20. Isn't it amazing how we can remember EXACTLY where we were and what we were doing that day? I remember the weather, what the sky looked like, how I felt...just like it was yesterday.

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  21. Beautiful post Erin.

    I'm now following you.

    You stopped by A Little Unhinged a couple weeks ago and left a comment on my "Custom Blog Post Signature". I've been a little under the weather and just now getting to respond. I apologize for not making it over here sooner. I will definitely be back to visit. You are a very talented young lady. :)

    xoxo

    Bonnie @ www.alittleunhinged.com

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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