Today marks the 18th anniversary of the horrific terror attacks on the USA. The twin towers were targeted by planes besieged by terrorists and the pentagon as well on a fateful day in 2001.
Most of us can recall where we were that day and I reflect on my whereabouts each year as well. I stepped out of my statistics class which was held in a brand-new state of the art auditorium on my Canadian university campus only to behold live coverage of the tragedy on televisions outside the auditorium.
The flames, the dark smoke seemed to speak of a very dark reality that I could not comprehend. For a few moments I surmised that this must be some kind of mistake.
As I frantically looked around, the reactions around me told me otherwise. Some of my classmates were grasping for breath and others wailing; the harsh truth was slowly setting in. I felt dazed and confused; I struggled to process emotions let alone the enormity of grief caused by a major tragedy. I responded like I did with most trauma I felt; defensive numbness.
I had not yet discovered the lens of grace. I wish I had the comfort of the psalms or gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit that time but I could not perceive God’s presence those days and for years to come.
At that time, I had friends from different religious backgrounds and cultures, and I enjoyed the kaleidoscope of diversity.
However, I did not understand the nuances of religious extremism in other religions.
The only other terror attack I was aware of that involved a plane was the Air India bombing in 1985. This deadly terror attack was carried out by Sikh terrorists and was known as the largest aviation terror attack prior to September 11 killing hundreds of Canadians.
Was this an accident? How could this be happening?
18 years later, my understanding of world events has changed. I do not view events superficially as I once did.
God does not leave us to process our pain alone; He is with us and promises to walk in nearness, cajoling our fragile hearts to reflect a more peaceful reality.
I have a Heavenly Father who comforts me as He does with all his children, releasing glimpses of grace amidst the rubble, debris and broken hearts. I hope you choose to hold your loved ones closer and follow the way of grace, where redemption has the final word.
“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” -Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl