I remember where I was on September 11th, 2001. I was getting ready to go to my History of Western Civilization class at Northwestern College. I was living in the dorm at the time. I was walking on clouds, because Knut had put an engagement ring on my finger just a few days earlier, on September 9th. I heard the t.v. on as I had to pass the lounge on the way to class. What stopped me was seeing a packed lounge, which was very unusual for that time of the morning. I looked at the news, and saw smoke coming from one of the towers. Another girl looked at me and said, “New York is being bombed or something.”
I ran back to my room and woke up my 2 roommates. They protested at first, until I told them that New York was being attacked, and it’s all over the news. They ran to the lounge, and we all watched together, as the plane hit the second tower.
I’m sitting here in tears, remembering that moment. I have never since then felt the cold reality of watching all those people die, and on national television on top of that. It wasn’t like watching a movie. It was so real. It’s like all of us stopped breathing when that happened. We all gasped in unbelief as we watched the towers fall. It was hard to believe that was even possible. Reports came out after that saying that the news didn’t show what they showed in places like Europe of people jumping to their death as the towers were crumbling.
Our class was canceled, and the school kept CNN going constantly all day in the auditorium. We all watched in zombie like fashion, until we each met our breaking point and left.
It’s things like this that I have to tell my children. These are things that I dread. I hate having to explain hate and death to them.
We are reaching a point with Silje, where her innocence is slowly being lost. She is becoming more aware of the evil and hurt in the world, and that really breaks my heart.
For instance, Silje overheard a phone conversation that I had a few days ago about someone dying. When she asked about it, the conversation turned to heaven. But with Silje, heaven’s an easy topic.
She hears absolutely every part of every conversation around the house, and won’t let up until she understands what we’re saying. For instance, a few months back, when Obama legalized embryonic stem cell research, Knut and I were grieved. We were watching the news and we both made some comment of how devastating that was. Then we got a tap on the arm by a little girl, “What’s embryonic stem cell research?”Hmmm, where to start? That one took over an hour to explain, and she kept asking questions until she was satisfied.
I wanted her to see the complexity of the situation and not simply “It’s killing babies.” I wanted her to know the good things that the scientists were hoping to learn, and all the medicine that they could make for sick people once they learned it. I also wanted her to know the cost of this information.
When she finally realized what it was, she was horrified. She was angry. She wanted to write President Obama, and call the news. Didn’t people see how wrong this was? I had a bucket of emotions with Silje’s response. I was saddened that a bit of her innocence was gone as she saw some of the evil in the world. I was proud that she wanted to stand up for what was right. Then I was convicted, that my reaction was a laid back grief. Where was my outrage and letters. Did I have the courage to stand up for what was right, even if it would offend some people I knew?
It’s fun to see how our children are finding their faith, and how God uses that to build my faith.
Back to our talk of heaven, a few days ago. Silje and I sat down for some tea during the boys’ afternoon nap. We started chatting and joking. (She has the funniest jokes that don’t make any sense at all.) We started talking about heaven, and so I told her that the Bible even describes heaven, and soon… out came the Bible.
Reading from Revelation 21. She was on the edge of her seat the whole time. It was awesome. When I read out loud to her verse 8, well I’ll back up and give you verse 7 for context.
(7)He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
(8)But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
Lately I feel like I haven’t been bold in my faith. I used to be really bold in my faith. Ever since I’ve moved to MN, I’ve been “nice” about my faith. I don’t want it to offend anyone. I keep forgetting that it is offending. I have been a coward. I’ve been meaning to work on that, but I was just surprised, that “cowardly” was at the top of that list, next to the murderers and idolaters. The cowardly. The people who believed, but loved their comfort more. As our friend Tony would say “The people who worship their niceness.” It’s something God is working on in me.
These are just my thoughts on this day of remembrance. I’m thinking of that day, and my children slowly being exposed to evil so great. I’m thinking about the holocaust of babies dying everyday, that sadly does not make the news or chill the bones of our country. And I’m thinking of the faith that God is building in me and my children. It should always end with that, shouldn’t it? Through all my random musings, God is still God.