I was five years old on September 11th, 2001. And I remember three things from that day.
1 – A bunch of kids in my class were getting to leave school early and I was jealous because I knew my mom who was also a teacher at my school would never pick me up early. Also the teachers were acting weird and we did a lot of coloring that day.
2 – On our drive home from school my mom told my brother and I about how terrorists crashed into the World Trade Towers. But I heard pterodactyl, and imagined a flock of them attacking a building and knocking it over. So for the rest of the afternoon I was then terrified that dinosaurs became un-extinct and were attacking people. (I eventually realized what actually happened thanks to my weird obsession with waking up early on Saturdays to watch the morning news before anyone else was awake in my house.)
3 – Something different was in the air. People were acting differently. My mom, my teachers, the neighbors, I didn’t understand it but people were being nicer and our phone would not stop ringing.
Fast forward through the various terrorist attacks whether domestically or internationally motivated and my three observations are prevalent in each of them.
1 – fear
2 – confusion
3 – coming together
What happened in Orlando is terrible, I cannot imagine the fear that jolted through people as they went from moving their bodies to rhythmic music to moving their bodies from raging gun fire. Over a hundred casualties later and the heroes of Orlando PD ceased the immediate fear by ending the attack. Confusion has now stepped in as authorities are determining a cause and if this attack is connected to any other ones.
While the FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement acronyms investigate people are starting to come together. Waiting in lines that wrap the block to give blood and help the victims in any way they can. Out of all of the pain and terrible things that come out of these horrendous attacks this is the one good side-effect. Our perspective of life is refocused, the closer you are to the attack the more dramatic the focus is. But regardless your perspective is re-calibrated. People love more, forgive easier, and don’t take the life God’s given us for granite. We are reminded that it takes an instant to die, so it’s important to use the time we have to its absolute fullest. To not be crippled by fear but to treat it logically, care for others, and be the best human we can be.
So I challenge you to not be hung up on 1 and 2, not stay in a state of fear and confusion on the wake of a terrible attack. But rather morn the appropriate time and then move onto 3. Come together with those you love, forgive those that you’ve been denying forgiveness, and show compassion. We cannot go back in time to stop the attacks. But if we can make good come out of it, the attacker will be defeated. As always, make good choices, share if you like what I said, comment if you have something to add, and I will see you on Thursday.