This morning, Tessa asked me "Do you remember the Twin Towers?" Of course, I do, so I told her all about what I was doing that morning, and how I felt, and the paralysis I felt throughout the day. It started me thinking...
I was working doing my magazine job. I used to place magazines in different stores; Walmart, K-mart, and the Safeway in Ephrata (but not the one in Moses Lake... go figure). That day, I was driving to Ephrata at 6:00 a.m to do my job, and there was a something on the radio about an accident involving a plane in New York, but I didn't really hear what they were saying because I was going through a dead spot, and when I got out of it, the radio station was back to music. When I got to the store, I went straight back to the back storage room to get my magazines, but when I came out to the front to start changing out the magazines, I noticed that all the cashiers were huddled around a screen in the movie rental spot. They all looked shocked, and had their mouths covered. I looked up, and saw a replay of the second airplane flying into the second tower. And as I was watching, the towers fell.
The gasp in the store was audible, and all as one, we covered our hearts, our mouths, our eyes, as we knew.... we knew that the loss of life would be great, and that this..... act of cowardice, because that is what I think it is..... would change the world as we know it.
I talked to Tessa about how I called Terry immediately and told him to turn on the TV. At the time, he worked from a home office and the TV was only on if I was home. But as he turned it on, he asked me, what is going on.... what is going on.... I just remember thinking that as he was asking me, what IS going on? How could this be happening? How does someone take the lives of so many innocent people? And the hits kept coming as we heard about the flight that flew into the pentagon, and Flight 93, that the passengers fought back on, and saved some other target from being hit.
Tess and I talked about how hard it was for me to finish my job, to keep moving throughout the day. We talked about how I was glued to the screen, watching over and over, the planes hitting the building, the buildings falling, the devastation below, the terrifying realization that no one could survive from this act. As the weeks moved on, I collected magazines about 9-11 like they were playing cards. I had a whole stack of them. My obsession with it was becoming maudlin, and finally Terry made me stop. It was causing me to implode on myself with depression and anxiety. This was before my anxiety was full blown also, so this was a new feeling for me. I felt hopeless, and despondent that there was any reason to move forward in this life. What was I going to tell my kids, who all had a full life ahead of them, about how to have hope, when I had none myself?
After Terry staged his intervention, good man that he is, I started immersing myself in the good things of life. Family. Friends. And especially church. I immersed myself in conference talks about hope and love. I could hardly wait for General Conference, to hear what our beloved prophet and apostles would say. The time could not come fast enough for me, and for the first time in my life, I literally hung on every word that was spoken in that weekend. Every talk was like scripture to me, and I was listening as intently as I could. And even as that is, I don't remember what was said. I just know, I came away feeling loved, and hopeful. I came away feeling like God was in charge, and I just had to stay the course and all will be well.
And it has been. For me.
Now, as we recognize this 15th year anniversary, of this cowardly act, I think about the protests of NFL players, and other athletes towards the National Anthem, and the flag of the United States of America. I've listened to their justifications, of their complaints, and I feel like they have valid points. Our country is full of hate. What I don't understand is how this helps in any way? They say they've started a dialog. Okay, but haven't we been talking about this for awhile now, since Ferguson exploded, and the riots happened in Baltimore? Haven't there been report after report of racial profiling, and people of different backgrounds being targeted for acts of violence? The dialog is already started. The protest of not standing to honor our nation, who by the way gives the right to not stand as a protest, doesn't make sense to me. If you are looking for change, then start doing something that invites change. Not honoring the nation that gives you the right to expect change, isn't bringing about change. Go out and do something that isn't about bringing the spotlight on you. You sit on the bench instead of standing, and then when you walk off the field, what are you doing? Do you go back to your home and stew about the injustices you see? Are you out in your community, talking to underprivileged youth? Do you talk with your police, firefighters, and other first responders, trying to see their view and get them to see yours? Do you hold community events to try and bring both sides together, to try and find a common ground to build a bridge on?
What are you doing?
What are we doing?
It has given me something to think about. What am I doing?
If you are reading this, all two of you, I urge you to think about what can you do to build a bridge, instead of just talking about it. Let's not sit and call that good. Let's do something hopeful, something involving love, to all those those that feel helpless and hopeless in this world filled with hate.
I remember those feelings.