On 9/12/2001 the world did not spend hours a day absorbing blue light from screen time. We turned on TVs the old fashioned way. We called our churches and each other using landlines, and we prayed… hard I might add. Collectively we shared a silent understanding of the horror which had just unfolded before the world’s eyes. We watched. We listened. We mourned.
We also hoped. We banned together to help our fellow man. We worried about our frontline. We did not become desensitized to tragedy…. I like to think of that as a good thing.
Sacrifice was Visceral and Endeared
Sacrifice was visceral and endeared. It was real.
Men and women stormed the walls of crumbling rubble and vicious men, risking life and limb to stop the destruction, to stop the pain - some successful, others not. We shared the experience in a way neighborhoods do - together. We stopped. We paused. We listened.
But there is something important I’ve come to learn about tragedy. When it hits close to home… the world sort of stops just a bit, and we fall off its spinning axis while others stay in motion.
If we are honest with ourselves, social media has made us a bit of a scroll-by-world. We all see it, maybe even participate. We treat life like a newsfeed catching the highlights for a second, a glimpse for maybe a moment, then scroll on. We busy ourselves bartering time away and we forget.
We forget to pray, to make that phone call, to show the kindness someone so desperately needs - we forget to remember that mourning lasts more than a day, that the frontlines need our love, that the hurting require our care, and that tragedy can strike anyone at any time. So today, I choose again to remember - what the closest impacted cannot forget. There is a lesson in holding on to that day for just a little longer.
I remember buildings falling and people jumping - stories high. I remember Todd’s 911 call from United flight 93, sending a last message of love to his wife, who happened to have the same name as the 911 operator - Lisa. I remember he did so just moments before he and the other passengers took down the operators of the plane that didn’t “make it.” I remember where I was, how I felt, and the fear of uncertainty. I remember the days and months that followed where everyone banned together. They comforted with words and not emojis, with actions and not opinions, with prayer and not scoffing, and together we carried each other’s burdens.
I’m sorry to those who experienced great loss that day. I’m sorry for those who feel that pain linger. I pray for your comfort, your peace, and for joy in your life. I’m sorry your world was taken away.
Jenny Muscatell , author of The Journey of Faith & and Open Heart