I awoke this morning to my alarm going off with its irritating “BEEP!..BEEP!..BEEP!”, as my arm spastically felt its way in a blind effort to hit the snooze for now the THIRD time. Rolling over and looking at the clock, I found that I now had approximately 35 minutes to get cleaned up, dressed, get the house put together, take care of our dog Zeke and get on the road to work. Jolting up, I turned on the TV as I began my hurried routine, and that’s when I heard it – “Today marks the anniversary of 9/11”. For just those first few minutes upon awakening, I’d not remembered. I stopped what I was doing, (as my mind began to set aside the trivial issues of the morning), and grasped that quite literally, thousands upon thousands of people knew EXACTLY what today was the MOMENT that they awoke this morning: It was a day that they lost someone they loved – It was a day they witnessed something first hand, that changed them forever – It was a day they survived something that so many others didn’t – It was a day they risked everything for their fellow man. Sitting down a moment, as the gravity of it all sank into my consciousness; I could only pray for them to be comforted and strengthened on this day of memorial.
Certainly everyone was impacted by what happened in this nation September 11, 2001. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t remember exactly where they were the moment they became aware that passenger airliners were flying or had flown into the World Trade Center – Towers I and II; into the Pentagon; and into a field in Shanksville, PA.
I was in my hotel room by Mobile Bay in Mobile, AL, having just gotten out of the shower and drying my hair when I saw on the television screen, a plane flying into the World Trade Center. I recall initially thinking it was a movie preview and slowly realizing that what I was seeing was real. Turning up the sound, I sat on the corner of the bed and listened as the news anchor, (fighting his own emotion), attempted to articulate what was happening in live time. At that point both towers had been hit. I called family and then went to the lobby of the hotel; as I could not stand watching what was unfolding alone. Walking towards the lobby I saw about 15 military personnel talking to staff at the front desk and then I saw to my right, a group of people around a television, where I then went to watch what in a few minutes would unfold. As the towers collapsed, I remember my ears ringing and I could hear my own crying, (as if distanced from myself), and then, (like the volume being turned back up), became aware of the cries and gasps of those around me. What I recall most is that no one was really talking, but rather, total strangers were weeping and simply embracing one another.
I came to realize that what happened in the hotel lobby that morning, was that all of us were being confronted with something infinite and attempting to grasp it with a finite mind. We were witnessing true evil, darkness and depravity on a scale, (that likely in the lifetime of those present), had never been experienced before. I have found that a natural impulse to such senselessly vile acts is to attempt to understand it with the use of our intellect. The truth is however that our intellect can only go so far in the search for such understanding – but can certainly never fully comprehend the acts of that day or of any other kind of depraved indifference that we see in our world today.
With access to news, information and images 24/7 it is easy to bombard ourselves with this infinite darkness, which makes way and opens the door to feelings of hopelessness, fear, anxiousness, anger and sadness that often lead a skewed view of the world, our lives and our future.
The truth is though…this is only the darker side of something infinite, because there is another Infinite that is so much greater and so much MORE powerful – which is an infinite God. What do I mean by that? The infiniteness of: Love – which can be seen immediately in the eyes of parents as they bring their little ones into the world and see them for the first time, being filled with an awareness that nothing will EVER matter more to them than this precious little life; Forgiveness – which defies all logic in its ability to truly move beyond circumstances and acts which would seem impossible, if not unfathomable; Hope – the miracle of it! It is what allows the human spirit to prevail through circumstances beyond comprehension, enabling them to rise above and not be bound or held down by them.
The greatest darkness can be destroyed in an INSTANT by the tiniest amount of light; The deepest resentment can be annihilated with the smallest step towards forgiveness; The loneliest moment of hopelessness can vanish with one small word of encouragement! I think today it behooves us to remember that everyday…ALL DAY…we are surrounded by and have access to the Infinite – who will always provide unlimited peace, hope and restoration with as little as one request.
©2015 Rebecca Balko