As I sit here late on a Friday night, the night before the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks there is a lot going thru my mind.
As we’ve weathered the last 18 months of our Covid year(s) I have finally grown weary of most of the rhetoric online and in the media, the fighting I see among friends, and the general rancor and invective that seems to permeate most corners of life these days. I’ve been spending more time off-line (listening to audio books, more to come!), on purpose so that I don’t end up in dark places in my mind. I’m already grumpy enough as it is, and I’m trying to live life such that I don’t say things I have to apologize for the next day. You’re welcome.
My thoughts this week have turned to that fateful September morning in 2001 when I watched in horror in my family room as the Twin Towers collapsed and the world changed forever. It would be a few weeks later that I found out someone I knew had died in the North Tower that morning, leaving a wife and three teenaged children widowed and orphaned. His death, and all of the deaths that day have always caused me to stop and reflect on mortality and to ask myself if I am making the most of my days.
In the days following September 11th we saw our very divided nation come together to mourn and serve each other. It was actually quite refreshing. I think we all wanted to take this tragedy and, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, make something new and better for ourselves and our children.
I saw this meme on facebook yesterday and I liked it because it’s the truth:
What unites us in 2021? Can we find commonalities? Is there a way to be September 12th people and see past the red, the blue, the elephant, the donkey, the TBM, the exmo, the progmo, the DezNat, to see the Child of God in the people around us?
Last year I invited my friends to find acts of service for September 11th as a way to commemorate the day, rather than joining in the many “where were you … ” posts on social media. Later I was told September 11th was designated as a national day of service at some point.
I had an opportunity this week come my way to help an old friend from my BYU days. Our lifestyles have diverged over the years since we left BYU, but I never felt like I was “released” as her Visiting Teacher, so we’ve kept in contact over the years. She needed some help, but was afraid to ask for fear of being judged, but reached out to me. I made some phone calls and her situation was taken care of that afternoon. I was so very thankful that she reached out to me for help, she was thankful for the help too. I invite you to find some one to help on September 11th. Pray for opportunities, and take them when they come.
In my social media feeds tonight a link to a speech Pres. Merrill J. Bateman, the president of BYU back in 2001, made on September 11th, while we were still in the fog of war. You can read and listen to the whole speech at BYU Speeches HERE.
From the talk, titled, Hope for Peace:
The best news of all is the good news. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though we live in troubled times—and prophets have indicated that there will be turmoil in the last days—it is possible for each of us to feel peace, to have the peace of the gospel in our lives. We believe that is the most important message we have for the world. We are part of the greatest peaceful mission this earth has ever known. The 60,000 missionaries and 11 million members of the Church have the only message that gives hope for peace. And peace will not come in the lives of people until they have internalized the message of the Master
How have you internalized the message of the Master, Jesus Christ? Especially over the last 18 months of the Covid Wars? All of us have so many heavy burdens right now. We all need Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives and our days. Will you share that message with those in your circle of friends? Even those who are members of the Church?
Finally, out of the bad, there can be good and great blessings. I’m sure you’ve probably seen this short documentary on the boats that came to resuce people from Lower Manhattan that September morning. It is inspiring, and I think is the true essence of who we are as Americans. Let’s serve each other. Let’s try to get along. Let’s fill each other with Jesus Christ.