Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I SAW GOD ON 9/11

On this, the twelfth anniversary of the events of 9/11, I’m recalling the sights, sounds and stomach-twisting feelings of the day.

The first question we all asked (when we were finally clearheaded enough to ask questions) was, "Why?" The second question we asked – even the most devout and tenaciously believing among us – was, "Where was God?"

For now I’ll leave the "why" question to philosophers, sociologists and foreign relations experts. But as for the second question, I saw God that day. And most of you did too.

Here are just a few of the places where I saw God:
 
I saw God in men and women, digging in the ruins, looking for life beneath tons of steel and concrete, amid suffocating clouds of acrid dust.

I saw God in over 250 police officers and firefighters who gave their lives fighting to rescue countless others from the burning, crumbling skyscrapers.

I saw God within the crowds of people who stood near recovery workers for the sole purpose of encouraging them and shouting appreciation for their gut-wrenching work.

I saw God in a plane near Pittsburgh, in the hearts of a few courageous men who were determined not to end their lives by taking the lives of others.

I saw God in the hearts of those who tenaciously remained (and sacrificially died) at their post in the Pentagon, trying to sort out the chaos to protect the rest of us.

I saw God in the lines of people, several city blocks long, waiting hours to give blood.

I saw God restaurant cooks continually handing out sandwiches and coffee to exhausted rescuers.

I saw God in the hearts of friends and family tenderly caring for children whose parents never came home.

I saw God under the rubble, alongside the very few who survived, who prayed every moment they'd see daylight again.

I saw God, swifter than lightening, rushing to the souls of those whose lives were taken, to carry them over from terror to comfort. From nightmare to peace.

And later we heard of countless heroic actions, moments of brave tenderness, with those who are no longer here. In those moments too, I see God.

“As I Was Saying...”

American Television Trivia: Angered over persnickety censors, TV host, Jack Paar, walked off NBC’s "The Tonight Show" on February 11, 1960 during a live broadcast. Just over one month later he returned to the show, stood for a moment on stage, and said, "As I was saying before I was interrupted..." The expectant audience roared in laughter. (The video may be on the web somewhere).

Some months ago I went through a career transition, which is never easy, and my chronically unsettled stomach reminds my life is not quite settled yet – but I’m getting there. However, one significant benefit of this life change will be the generous time I now have to devote to writing and blogging. This is a luxury few writers have, and I appreciate my wife for whole-heartedly believing in me and supporting my writing habit (both morally and financially).

Speaking of transition, I searched the web for meaningful quotes about life’s changes, and here some quotes (in no particular order) that resonate with me at present:




"The transition (out of basketball) was difficult. It's hard to stop something that you've enjoyed and that has been very rewarding."
     - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball legend)

"I think that it's the job of the artist to be in transition and constantly learn more."
     - Justin Townes Earle (American folksinger/songwriter)

"A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone."
     - Mandy Hale (in her book, The Single Woman).

"Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else."
     - Tom Stoppard (in his play, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead")

"This is your time and it feels normal to you, but really, there is no normal. There's only change and resistance to it and then more change."
     - Meryl Streep (actress, in a 2010 college commencement speech)

"When our first parents were driven out of Paradise, Adam is believed to have remarked to Eve: ‘My dear, we live in an age of transition.’"
     - William Ralph Inge (Anglican priest and dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London)



Thank you all for your patience, dear readers. You shall be hearing from me soon

Yours sincerely,
Don White