Skip to main content

Where I was on 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, I arrived at French Drill shortly before 9:00 a.m. It was a Tuesday morning. The TV used for instructional videos was tuned to the news. A plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. As we watched, a second plane collided with the other tower. It looked like a video game. Our timid instructor, a graduate student, turned off the TV, and we had class. What else could we do?

After French, I left for Russian class. We were provided with only a 10-minute break, and I had to go all the way across campus. As I hurried, I ran into a girl from a Christian fellowship group. “Are you okay?” she asked in a concerned voice, touching me on the arm. “I’m fine,” I said in surprise. “But haven’t you heard?” I remembered the plane crash and realized it was something serious. “Ohh…yes, it’s terrible. But I’m okay.”

In Russian class, the instructor was in a bit of a shock. She had relatives in New York City. After we had all gathered, she told us to go home. Class was cancelled.

Back in my room, I turned on the news. I finally learned that they were calling it a terrorist attack. Gradually the reality of it hit me. Many questions were, and still are, left unanswered. But I understood the following: This was a premeditated attack, and had taken much meticulous planning, even years, and for some this involved the loss of one’s own life to ensure that others were killed. What hurt so much was not even the loss of the victims, but the fact that the act had been carried out deliberately. I wept a little, not being able to comprehend how such deep hate could exist, and could be directed at the citizens of my homeland. It’s such a strange aspect of the human nature, to be able to hate people whom you have never met.

A few hours later on the way to Art class, I stopped on the lawn where a prayer vigil was being held. I dropped to my knees and prayed for a few minutes. Someone had already put up blank banners where students could write notes with a black pen to express their grief. “Miss you, so-and-so,” “Whoever did this deserves to die,” and “Jesus Saves.” I wasn’t sure how people found comfort in addressing messages to no one.

The art instructor gathered us all together and said, “Go home, find some caring people and spend time with them. Forget about your sketchbooks and just bring them on Thursday.”

I went home, but the day wasn’t over yet. Back in the dormitory, my roommate didn’t want to watch the news. It was too upsetting. I got ready for the evening’s activity, which was an outreach project we had been planning for almost a year. To spread the word, we wore red t-shirts with the date of the event printed on the back: “SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001.” I still have that t-shirt with the date immortalized. I had lost the desire to attend, but perhaps in the wake of the day’s events, someone would be ready to receive the Gospel that night. We assembled in the basketball stadium and one member of the Christian fellowship shared the Gospel. There weren’t a lot of people there-maybe because of the tragedy, maybe due to other reasons. But the event spurred many subsequent conversations that led people to Christ.

Then I was home at last, to mourn, to get in touch with loved ones, and…to do my homework.

On Wednesday, it didn’t feel right to go to class, but we did. In my second class we sat facing our professor, waiting to begin. “We have to go on with life,” he said. “If we stop, it will mean that they have won.”

And so, we grieved a little bit, and went on. In some way I hoped, amidst the tragedy, that Americans would wake up a little. I hoped that they would stop leaning on their earthly treasures and be shaken into searching for God. But I haven’t seen much evidence of that. I’m not sure what it will take to wake them up. I can only keep praying that God will reveal the work He has for us, and change hearts by His will.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Movie theater triggers

Summer always has a special feeling in the air. In St. Petersburg, of course, it stays light until close to midnight nowadays.

David's workshops are over, so he is on "vacation," resting from all his hard work. ;)

Andrei's workload fluctuates. Lately we've been having guests several times a week, so it feels busy even though Andrei is working fewer days. And the summer will probably fly by!

Since Saturdays are free now, Andrei and David (almost 6) went to the movies this weekend. And they let ME come, too! My in-laws stayed home with Sophia (almost 2). We don't often do this type of configuration because David is so attached to his grandparents. But he was okay with leaving with us as long as he knew he could play with them afterwards.

It was my first time in a movie theater since The Fire at Kemerovo a few months ago. I wouldn't really say I was nervous, just more aware. Probably the way Americans might have felt after the Aurora shooting. I looked arou…

Hobby pruning

I promised myself that if I did some paper sorting I could do a new blog post.

Remember hobbies? When I got married I swore I would never let myself forget how busy I was when I was single. And by that I mean look down on unmarried men and women as if they had lots of free time on their hands. We all have plenty to keep us busy. And who made it a virtue to be busy, anyway?

But, I will say that I was SHOCKED to open up all my old notepads and skim through them. Detailed notes from sermons, grammar from studying several languages (mainly Greek, French, and Italian) for FUN as well as formal Russian courses. Notebooks full of Bible passages and questions that I had written down meticulously. A Calligraphy instructional guide along with several pages of my attempts. And of course there were all the notes from lesson planning for teaching English, and different ministry projects I was involved in.

Although looking at the notes made me jealous of my past self as if I had lots of free time,…

A tender heart

Andrei and I were having an intense discussion. I was crying. I think it was the second day of it, and when you live in an apartment, nothing gets past the kids (or neighbors-not that there was anything to be concerned about).

David was desperate to cheer everyone up. He ran up, forced himself between us, and shoved a book about the Nativity in our faces. He turned the pages, pointing to each picture depicting the birth of Jesus.

He thought that the birth of Christ would be the thing to put a smile on everyone's faces. Wasn't the Nativity enough to make everyone's problems melt away? It should be the correct answer, right? We did kind of turn the corner after that and had everything cleared up with a little more discussion.

Before bedtime, I went into David's room to assess the situation since the kids had been playing in there. There were a bunch of books on the bed and I wondered why the kids had gotten into the books. It wasn't something David would normally do …