Monday, September 12, 2011

Where Were You?

It will go down in conversational history like the assassination of JFK, man first walking on the moon, or the fall of the Berlin Wall. If you don't know how to start a conversation with someone but want to break the ice, simply ask "where were you on 9/11"?

Most of us were at work or on our way. At the time, I was waiting tables and had a late night shift the night before, so I was still in bed. My mom called to wake me up. I spent the rest of the day glued to the TV. When I did try and go out to grab a bite to eat, I saw that everyplace was closed.

There was a lot of fear that day. Would there be more planes? Would there be a "dirty bomb"? What would happen next?

So we vividly remember where we were that day. But do you remember where you were the day after? Alan Jackson's song, Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" talks about donating blood, kneeling to pray, helping in a soup kitchen, aiding relief efforts, and so on. But that was the day after. Do you remember where you were on 9/12?

I ask because it wasn't 9/11 that changed everything, though it was the catalyst. It was 9/12. The day after. The next day where we had to decide how the events the day before would change how we lived our lives. I remember the night of the 12th. It seemed everyone was having candlelight vigils. There were special prayer services. There were rallies. And at each, people attended with a sense of unease and uncertainty. Some felt that if this meant an all-out World War-level conflict in the Middle East then we could very well be ushering in the end of the world.

It's like the saying, "today is the first day of the rest of your life." The 12th was the first day of the post-9/11 world. People who had stopped going to church returned. Faith came front and center in our national politics. We waved our flags a little higher and prayed a little deeper. Then the 13th, the 14th... But one year later, had anything really changed? Those who recommitted their lives to Christ were back home Sunday morning watching football. The faith-driven political divide deepened and antagonized many. Two years later were we better off? How about 10 years later? Can you honestly say you are living your life differently because of what happened 10 years ago? For the families of victims, for those serving in the military and their loved ones, and for those persecuted based only on their nationality or religion, yes their lives are very different today. But how about you? What is different for you?

I know you remember where you were on the 11th. But do you remember where you were on the 12th? Are you still there?

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