I was living in Southern California on 9-11-01 and first heard news about the terrorist attacks during my commute to work.
My reaction was shock and confusion.
Which parts of New York and D.C. were hit? Did I know anyone there? What did this all mean?
It was very surreal.
Needless to say, my coworkers and I were glued to our computer screens for the better part of that morning, as we watched live internet feeds in disbelief. Eventually, our boss sent us all home to be with our families. Even though we were thousands of miles away from the event, we grieved, and being with loved ones seemed like the only good idea.
Now, ten years later, I live much closer to the east coast and my family has expanded. I was actually in Seattle visiting relatives last week and flew back to Ohio on 9-10-11. There was an eery feeling in the airport that morning, security seemed especially stringent, and travelers were few. I prayed that nothing bad would happen.
On Sunday, I found myself glued to our television watching the events unfold again. This time, I was especially fascinated by memorial stories and stories of survival and heroism. As tragic as that day was, God was present. We live in a broken world and evil is real. Love, hope, endurance and restoration are also real.
My parents live out those virtues every day.
On September 11, 1971 they exchanged their wedding vows. Mom was barely out of highschool and dad was three years her senior when they married. He was a forest ranger making eyes at her through bookshelves at the library where she worked. This year marked their 40th anniversary.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my mom is sick with cancer. Most of my visit with them last week was spent in the hospital, as my mom is suffering from severe chemo side effects. Watching the way my dad cared for her was beautiful. He sat by her side, held her hand, kept an eagle eye on the nurses as they checked vitals, adjusted pillows and replaced blankets, he protected her dignity, massaged her swollen hands and feet, and gazed at her with a depth of love.
Forty years' worth.
Mom was well enough to come home for a few days, so the day she was released was the day I presented my dear parents with their anniversary gift. It was something my siblings, cousin, and I all pitched in to buy them, and is one of the items on dad's Bucket List.
Ta da! One hot air balloon ride for two.
They were both so cute when they realized what it was, especially dad. Later that night when we were all together, he thanked us and told us it was something he had always wanted to do, but thought he'd have to wait 'til Heaven to do it. What a joy it will be when he and his bride can take that ride together.. this side of eternity.
Terrorism has nothing on true love.