Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years On... Remembering 9/11/2001

Ten years ago this morning, I was a junior in college on my way to my 9:00 class.  As I walked through the girls' dorm lobby at about 8:45, I saw a bunch of girls grouped around the tv, and I sat down to watch, too.  Ten minutes later, the South Tower collapsed.

I don't remember who the other girls were.  I knew them, no doubt, because our campus was small and we all knew each other.  But I can't remember their faces, can't recall a single word that was exchanged as we sat there, bewildered and afraid and completely shocked, watching people jump out of windows from 80 floors up and seeing the buildings that defined the New York skyline for us falling to rubble.

I know that, at some point, I went to class.  It must have been my 11:00 class, Modern American Poetry with Mr. Gibbens.  We watched the news for a while and then we went to lunch.  I remember wanting very much to see my boyfriend, wanting to be held and comforted.  He kept me at arm's length.  I knew in that moment that our relationship was over, that my life wasn't going to look anything like I had thought it would: The world was changing before our eyes, and I wouldn't be facing it side-by-side with him.

But this day, this horrible, unimaginable day, was another of Pastor Tom's hinge moments: the world changed, and my life changed.  For a couple weeks, everyone filled up their gas tanks constantly and worried about the next attack.  My brothers and many of their friends talked about enlisting.  Embracing the inevitable, I broke up with my boyfriend and went about learning how to live under this new shadow.  My parents drove down and took me to dinner for my birthday.  We had to go on.

Over the next weeks, we all exhaled a little.  The networks relaxed their constant coverage of Ground Zero.  We wrote papers, took midterms.  By Thanksgiving, I'd met Greg.  By Christmas, I wanted to marry him.  By New Year's Day, I knew that I would.

Terror attack or not, life had to keep moving.  We have to keep moving.  And so we do, sometimes with light feet and joy in our hearts, sometimes stooped and stumbling in darkness and pain.  But always knowing that someday, all will be redeemed.

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