Well, maybe not the world. The world had long ago lost its innocence. Pain and sorrow had been the theme throughout thousands of years of human existence. It didn't originate the day terrorists hijacked planes and killed thousands.
But for all of us living now, things were different after that September day.
I wasn't too young to realize how significant that day would be in my life. Just as my parents' generation would always remember where they were when they heard Kennedy had been assassinated, so would I always recall with crystal clarity my experiences that day. Sitting in my living room in my pajamas and orange bathrobe as I watched the second plane pierce the tower. Holding my breath just as the newscasters did as the buildings fell. Calling loved ones. Going to work feeling a bit numb. Looking at the faces of the children I taught and realizing they would never know an America without terrorist attacks. Driving home from work and spotting Air Force One and its military escort in the otherwise unoccupied air. Waiting for hours to fill up my gas tank. Collecting newspapers. Postponing my bridal shower that was to have been that evening.
I absorbed it all and felt deeply about it, but strangely, I think over the past decade, the events are even more polarized in my mind. Ten years ago, I was responsible for me. Now, I have a husband who would be one of the ones running into the burning building. I have a far greater appreciation for the risks that first responders take, heading into certain danger with the knowledge that they will not get out alive. Ten years ago, I took care of other people's kids. Now, I have my own and can feel the weight of how fragile life can be. I wonder if there were children on those planes. I think of the pregnant women in those planes and in the towers. I imagine the terror they must have experienced, and it squeezes on my heart like a vice. There isn't a parent out there that doesn't hear about stuff like that and think, "What if it were me and my children?What if the tragedies were mine?" I think of all the senseless acts of violence that evil men have perpetuated over the course of history, and it's not hard to take a mental leap and think that it could be us someday on the receiving end. After all, we are Christians.
But even as my mind muddles through the swamp of terrorism, I am not without hope. Suffering may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Of this, I am sure. Evil has had its day in the spotlight, and I know it won't be long before the Victor comes to snuff it out. That's why I don't wallow or panic when I think of the evil in this world and the lives that have been destroyed by it. If there's one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's that evil does not win in the end.
I'm no longer the nineteen year old girl two weeks away from her wedding that I was as I watched history unfold on The Today Show. Ten years has allowed the significance of that day to swell and evolve in my life, and I understand the temptation to worry over what I can't control. But the same God has always been in control, always been on the throne, always in love provided a way of salvation, and has always had a plan unfolding.
"...See how the evildoers lie fallen--thrown down, not able to rise!" Psalm 36:12