Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just One More Offering for the Basket

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." — C.S. Lewis   (thanks Matty)

There is nothing and everything to say.  

Ten years ago today we watched helplessly as the place we loved and still thought of as home was shaken to its core.  Our fault lines were being tested and stretched and in a few years we too would come down in a cloud of smoke, skittering papers and personal belongings into the universe.  But back then we were merely exiles.  Strangers in strange lands, two and three hours...a lifetime really, away.

The morning began with two reports, a phone call that my uncle had suffered a heart attack and a radio alarm clock with an even more ominous tale.  Five minutes after I got downstairs, bleary and uncomprehending in the California dawn, the looping replays of the first tower would be replaced by live footage of the second.  The children awakened and made their way downstairs, each reduced to tears and confusion as we watched the scenes repeat and add new horrors.

No calls were going in or out, which prevented us from knowing that not one friend was lost.  Some had been running late for work, one made her way through the streets with colleagues covered in ash, but the ensuing days would reveal no deaths in our circle.  Only heartache for those we did not know, a grieving city, and us with arms that would not reach.

A decade finds us rebuilding in the many places we now call home.  The man who came with my sister for dinner that night is now a beloved family member, flowers he carried and the pirate eye patch and earring he allowed two little boys to adorn him with, just one more addition to family lore.  We have passed through high school once, twice and almost five times, visited colleges and gotten jobs.  One child has returned and embraces the city daily while others visit, relishing the moment when the M60 drops them at a corner they once called home.  

Ten years is a lifetime.  Ten years is a minute.

This week it has seemed the latter.  I see in sharp relief the friends since lost and resurrected now in memory; the rubble that made way for new purpose rising from the ashes.  Watch the tape of September 11 and grief is shrapnel lodged for 40 years--an ache that can surprise you.   Survey the landscape of all that was lost--what today might have been, and it is searing pain.  

But walk in the space between--on down that road ten years, and turn to see the mountains climbed, unexpected comrades found, and hope once again rising.  The journey we did not wish to take has made us who we are.  

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