It's that day again. The day that still makes my heart ache. That makes me almost ill. The day our world changed.
Those events are burned into our memories. Where were you on that awful day? I remember the day vividly. On that Tuesday morning, as on every Tuesday morning, I was heading to church. Tuesday was the day for Ladies Bible Study in the morning and staff meeting in the afternoon. We were planning to begin a new study on that morning, and as I had been preparing the introductory session, my thoughts had been focused on Psalm 62, specifically on verses 7-8: "On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." As the day progressed, I found myself holding on to those verses.
I walked into the family room just minutes after the first plane had hit. Our son Brian, who had just gotten home from his job at UPS, was watching TV (the Today Show, I think) before heading upstairs to bed. We both stared at the TV in disbelief. And then we watched as the second plane hit. On my way to the church, I heard the news about the Pentagon on the car radio.
Our Bible Study that morning turned into a brief time of prayer, after which I sent the ladies back home. Our staff meeting was cancelled. The pastor and I met briefly to talk through preliminary plans for the following Sunday worship service, and then he sent me home.
Life as we knew it changed forever on that day. I remember well the shock and the grief and the numbness that followed for so many days. For many those feelings are repeated each year as we mark another anniversary and as we see those horrible events replayed over and over and over on television.
Life changed on that day. We've grown accustomed to taking our shoes off at the airport and to having our purses and backpacks inspected. Sadly, we're no longer surprised by acts of violence.
But not everything has changed. It is still true that "my refuge is in God." I still grieve with and for those families who lost so much on that day just because their family member went to work that day. I still grieve for the families of first responders and military personnel who, on that day and in the years that have followed, paid the ultimate sacrifice. I am still grateful for men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
Even more, as I reflect on the ways that life has changed, I cling to this unchanging truth:
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear." (Psalm 46:1-2)