Monday, September 12, 2011

10 years already?


Like everyone else of an accountable age living in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, I have to say this day changed my forever.
It was the day I woke up. It's the day I realized my mortality -- at least, the mortality of this flesh that cages my spirit, which is immortal. In fact, it's is the reason for my spiritual birth.
I remember the day, and I remember where I was -- in life and in reality.
Before 9/11, it seems I was just wandering along in life. I was never decisive about anything, always on auto pilot, going along with the crowd, trying to keep it all together, doing what I thought made me happy but still trying to please everyone -- just not really living. I was unhappy about everything, in a miserable relationship and a drug addict -- downcast in my soul. In my mind, I wanted to live, but didn't know how.
I'm pretty sure I was in traffic when the first plane hit the north tower; running late to work had become a habit at the time. When I finally reached the Department of Finance offices on the Vanderbilt Campus, there was this eerie silence. I noticed that some co-workers were glued to their computer monitors; many of them even had others standing behind or around them -- also watching something so intently. I passed Katie Scott's cubicle; she was crying.
"Have you heard?" she asked.
"Heard what?" I think was my response. And then I was shown what everyone else was seeing.
It had just happened. The news had just broke. There was no confirmation of a terrorist attack.
Now ... anyone who has known me for at least the past 10 years knows my testimony about how I thought The Rapture had taken place. It was just such a beautiful day weather-wise. It made no sense that a plane would just slam into a building. If airlines generally employ two pilots on any given flight, and let's say one had a seizure or heart attack or something, then the other pilot would assume full control, right? Given that I was raised to believe Biblical teachings as truth and considering the conviction over the lifestyle I was leading, my mind could find no other explanation.
Obviously, 10 years later, we know The Rapture was not the reason for the chaos, but 9/11 was the eye-opener to the chaos in my own life.
I think the thing that really got me was watching people fling themselves to their deaths and the wonder of what manner of evil could compel a person to make such a choice? These were people who did the same thing I did that morning: They woke up, got out of bed, readied themselves for the work day and probably even thought about dinner on their commute in. I don't know what I would've done. But what I did do was sit in front of the TV for days just crying and sobbing as I tried to empathize with each person who faced that horrifying fate. And not just the individuals who chose to fall rather than burn, but what about those who managed to make it out of the first tower only to be crushed by its rubble when it could no longer hold up under the heat and flames -- the mental anguish of struggling between hope and hopelessness the closer they came to reaching the ground floor only to die after all? And what about those who 42 minutes after boarding their flight realized they would never again see their families? Can you imagine the distress and deep sorrow?
If not you should at least try.
I think the only thing sadder than that day is the human ability to forget it -- my own included.
It's uncanny the things a person can forget -- an instinctive mechanism, I'm sure to cope with trauma or loss in order to resume some sort of "normality." But I can't help but feel that we are better off remembering such tragedies even if only from time to time. How else would we ever appreciate the joys in life? How would we know how far we've come?
Looking back over the past 10 years, I can honestly say I wish I had come further. I mean, I've accomplished a lot. I'm married with a child -- something I definitely wanted 10 years ago -- but as I examine where I was and where I am now, spiritually speaking, I feel I've made a full 360. That's not good. At least not to me. You hear people talking about how they come "full circle," but is that really a good thing? I mean, wouldn't a full circle put you right back where you started? I just wish I had come a little further.
I feel that where I stand right now isn't much different from the spot I was standing in 10 years ago. I think the only difference is the two extra people I share my life with and the fact that I'm not on drugs anymore. Praise God for that, but I had such dreams of being in full time ministry or at least being far wiser and less recognizable. I, with the help of the Lord, managed to do a 180 by becoming spiritually ignited, but now I feel I'm but a dim ember! I'm glad I'm not where I was, but I want and hope to be so much further 10 more years from now.
I pray this 10-year mark can now become a new, higher stepping stone on this mountain I intend to climb!
I want to be different. I want to be that person again: the person who once had a reverent fear of God and wanted nothing more than to spend time with him. Granted, my over-zealousness was unapproachable to some 10 years ago; I was so heavenly-minded I was no earthly good! But wouldn't it be better for my soul that I were too heavenly-minded ... I mean ... at least I had heaven on my mind.
Now, I fear I just blend with the worldly crowd. I've reverted back to the old Carla in some ways and some of my old habits are peeking through. I need a fresh new start.
Lord God, please return to me the joy of your salvation and please light the fire again!
Anyway ... My heart still aches for those who lost their lives that day. I still sit in wonder as to how evil walks this earth disguised as human beings! Sept. 11, 2001, was not the first time hell crawled from its grave in the earth and put on flesh to carry out its sinister deeds, and it certainly won't be the last.
I just know that reminiscing about that day has definitely urged me to get prayed up and stay that way!
I hope we all never forget and never stop praying and looking upward!