Below is my first published piece. I was in church after 9/11 when part of the essay came to me and I was compelled to write it down. Three days later I carried it to our local paper’s editor
What can you say about the cruelest tragedy ever to overtake this great country? Who can a person even begin to make sense of the aeronautic bomb rammed into the Twin Towers, workers fleeing Manhattan like third world refugees, family and friends begging the media to post a photo of their loved ones, the president near tears and the Pentagon in flames? People are stunned and yet want to talk about what happened. There’s a deep yearning to make sense of this as the media sort it all out as leaders offer a clarion call for patriotism. We fasten flags to our cars, houses, bikes, and clothing and light candles for unity. We stand in line to donate blood. We write checks to help the victims while we ourselves feel like victims.
And even as we work hard to resurrect the life we knew only two weeks ago, there is a quiet little voice asking us if there is not another voice we have not heard.
New York City store owners hand out sensible shoes to high-heeled women hiking the pavement. Restaurant owners pass out sandwiches and bottled water. A firefighter is rescued and receives an IV only to go back to work after consuming a peanut butter sandwich. Life doesn’t get any nobler. Heroes are created hourly as so many respond to the grimmest life has to offer.
So what is happening to the human heart as the work continues? I see a collective softening of our national and individual souls as the drama plays out.
Spiritual values once buried as deep as the basement of the World Trade Center itself, are now being resurrected like the proverbial phoenix.
Like never before we plead God’s mercy on our country as we turn back to our Christian roots. We know if we are honest with ourselves, just how far we have walked away from our operating beliefs. We now need to come clean and be honest about it. The sorrow we feel is a drop in the ocean of God’s own agony as he views this atrocity.
But His joy has no bounds when we turn on our heels and head back home.
Just as thousands of workers streamed out of Manhattan, headed for home, so we all need to turn back. As one radio commentator said a few days ago, “The only voice now is prayer.”
Wednesday Sept. 26, 2001
The Zionsville Times Sentinel