As soon as the images began to flash across the TV screen, my husband knew he would be 'called up'. He was a chaplain in the National Guard, and we both knew it was only a matter of time... What we did not know was when, where, or how long. I felt ill watching the news coverage, praying for the many families in New York and Washington D.C. even as I fought back waves of nausea. But I had been feeling sick to my stomach for almost two weeks, and it was that day- and the fact of inevitable, impending deployment that motivated me to take a pregnancy test just a little bit too early... hoping I would know before sending my husband off to war.
So, 9/11 has a bittersweet connotation for me. The day when my family's life changed forever- not just because events were set in motion that led to much sacrifice, but also the day that led to the precious knowledge that I would be a mother again.
I still grapple with the knowledge that other families deal with loss on a grand scale because of that day. Part of my process of coming to terms with this is recorded in Stories of Faith and Courage From the Home Front by Karen Whiting and Jocelyn Green (the October 24 reading), but let me say here that 9/11 is a reminder for me to pray for the children very close to my son's age who won't meet their fathers in this lifetime. It is a way I remember to pray for all of those who lost someone that day (some of whom have also shared stories in the above mentioned book).
So tonight, as I tuck in both of my boys, I will breathe another prayer for those who lost a loved one in the 9/11 attacks- for a special outpouring of comfort and support on this day. For these families to be met not only with media recognition, but the little acts of kindness, that in truth are not so little. I pray these families will be treated not just as another news story, but as individuals who still wake to moments of sadness, even on days that are not anniversaries of loss.
We will never forget... and may we offer up earnest prayers and candid kindness as we remember.