Every day has inherent in it new opportunities. Yet, also every day has potential to present challenging and often deadly circumstances. I will never forget waking up one morning, feeling kind of lazy, but knowing I still had to go to work. I took my time, missed my usual train to downtown, so I came in on the next train – not the express. By the time I got downtown, it was past my usual 8:30 arrival. As I walked from the train, I noticed that people seemed to be leaving the downtown, going to their trains. Not one to have any noise at all in the morning, hence no radio, t.v., etc – I wondered why there appeared to be so mass an exodus. Never in my wildest dreams did I think there was a national disaster.
As I arrived in my building, still wondering what was happening, I rode the elevator as usual to the 11th floor. No one was at their desk, instead they all appeared to be either in the conference room at a television set, or looking out the window. What was the day – 9.11.2001! The day the unthinkable happened! As employees of the Board of Education it was part of our responsibility to oversee the city’s schools and make sure that every school escorted their students safely out of the building en route to home. That involved also a massive number of students who came by bus, whose parents were not expecting them at 9;30 in the morning. There was panic everywhere, but not in our office, we had a job to do! Every now and then we also looked out the window to see the Sears Tower, which could be viewed from our window, wondering if it was going to be a target for the planes that seemed to want to hit the buildings where the most people worked.
That was one of those days that was seared in my memory bank – and as I watched the television for the next few days, I saw a drastic change in the programming. There wasn’t programming featuring the crude and the profane – priests and preachers were praying – people were concerned about the numbers of survivors who were injured; the numbers of first responders who lost their lives, or who kept coming from all over the country, to risk their lives to try and save any one who survived the horrific crashes. It was a kinder, gentler America.
One of the scriptures that I often quote when I am anxious or fearful is:
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. Psalm 121:1-2 (MSG)
Although, it’s usually in the KJV, which was the version I cut my teeth on, so to speak; this version seems to speak something more to me – we don’t get our strength from our mighty military- though it is the finest in the world. Nor, do we get our governance from the White House, no matter whose in office. No, we get our strength from the Lord, who is Lord over the military and the White House! This is something to remember when our hope grows dim with the politics of the day.