Sunday, September 11, 2016



After reading this blog post, I looked back to see if in the five+ years of steady blogging behind me I had ever written about my own personal September 11th experience.  Somehow, I had skipped it.  In a day that impacted us all, I like hearing the individual stories, and tonight, I'm sharing mine.  It's small in the grand scheme of what happened that day - the day that shook the world and forever changed the way we view terrorism.  But, the day was big in my little life.

Today marks 15 years, which seems a bit unfathomable.

I was a junior in college, and one of the girls in my town house told my roommate and I to turn on the TV because "something" was happening.  We saw the second plane hit.  Classes were cancelled.  TVs were set up all over campus for us to watch, and we collectively grieved.  It was the defining moment of my generation, and we all remember this day and exactly what it looked like for us.

For me personally, it was already a dark time.  My father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer mere months earlier, and I was coming to grips with what that actually meant.  So many of my ideals were being stripped away, and they came crashing down fully with the Twin Towers.

Everything seemed completely out of control.  I couldn't make sense of the terrible evil in the world, and the terrible evil that was attacking my father's body.  After that day, I started struggling to sleep.  My mind was constantly spinning, and I ended up seeking counseling through my school, which was such a relief for me personally.  I had someone to help me walk through the darkness and try to find my way back to the light.  It was slow going, and for months, I needed medication to get rest at night.  I dropped weight, and I dropped pieces of myself.

I've never gone back to the girl I was before.  I grew up.

I had several more hard years to walk, because my dad ultimately lost his battle to cancer in 2003.  I was shattered and devastated and all those things, but ultimately, I'm stronger and kinder and better.  Seeing our country rally during the hard days and weeks and months after September 11th was inspiring, and I got to witness my own people rally around me during the hardest time of my life.  So much tragedy and so much good.

I'm still learning to understand that tragedy and good are forever and inextricably intertwined.  Here on earth, you do not get one without the other.

So, 15 years from that dark day, and 13 years from losing my dad - though I would NEVER have picked either of those events - I'm thankful for the person they have helped shaped me into.  I'm so glad to know the truth that God is near to the broken heart and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  My spirit has been crushed, but because of God's great love, it doesn't stay that way.

Still, that day will never be forgotten.