Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pain. Full Memories

(Re-posted, with some clarification, from 9/11/2003)
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I remember how it felt.

I was out of control. I was careening, and falling, and trying desperately to hang on as I rushed headlong toward disaster. Then there was blood and screams. There was pain and fear.

I was 11 years old.

I had taken a friend's minibike for a spin without being brave enough to admit I didn't know what I was doing. It was the first time I had ever driven anything motorized. I panicked. I goosed the gas thinking I was reaching for the brakes and I crashed. I tore a hole in my knee. It seemed so horrible, this gaping gash. I was marred forever. There was no concealing that.

My mother was called; she came quickly and rushed me to the hospital. I quivered in dread of the prodding doctors, needles, and stitches. I bellowed in agony as I imagined that the medical mending would be followed by my mother's even more pointed retribution.

My fears outweighed reality.

Today there is a barely discernible scar on my knee.

I healed.

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I remember how it felt.

I was on the air when I noticed a commotion behind me and turned to see the TV screen fill with announcements of a plane hitting one of the Towers. I tremulously ad-libbed into the newscast, "It appears an aircraft has hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. It happened moments ago. I'll have more details for you shortly." Then we went to commercial.

I remember how chaotic it was that day. Information and misinformation was coming in so quickly. I tried to digest and deflect it. I had to physically run into radio station studios to do live unscheduled updates instead of sitting in the comfortable safety of my booth down the hall waiting for my cue.

There was panic and pain.

I remember shaking and trying to keep my composure while recapping the events. Events which only moments earlier seemed unthinkable. I had to divert my eyes as I spoke because one of my co-workers sat directly in front of me staring incredulously...and crying unashamedly.

I remember thinking how our world had changed, how life would never be the same. How our children's lives would be so dramatically different from this point forward.

I remember leaving my office and going directly to my church where I bent down upon the same knee which so long ago was the focal point of all my fears. My knee was strong and stable that day, and I balanced upon it to pray.

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I remember this morning my alarm clocks went off and I thought how much I detest that sound.
I remember driving unimpeded to work, and doing my job, from my comfortable seat, in my familiar booth.

And now I'm home, in the same house I came home to two years ago as my mind raced and careened out of control with fears...and fears of fears to come.
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I remember that terrorists are part of our new reality.
I remember that in two years we've been in two wars.
I remember our brave members of the military remain in harm's way.

There are deep and painful scars and there will likely be more anguish and more scars ahead.

But we will carry them together.

And they will heal.

I must remember to remember that too.

PSALM 105:8
He remembers his covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations