On two poignant occasions, I have come to remember that no matter what happens, life continues to move forward. That even in the midst of my grief, the world still turned and somehow did not stop for me. These experiences were when I was en route to the cemetery for the burial of my grandmother and my mother, respectively, several years apart. How on Earth could those children be playing in their yard so happily like that? How could that couple be holding hands and strolling along? How could all of those cars drive to and fro, going about their business as though nothing had happened? It was a very strange sensation each time. Something felt as though it was coming directly from the universe – perhaps simply coming from the way that God has created things.
There is a time designated for everything – to mourn, to rejoice, to live, to die. But the beauty rests in that ultimately, life moves forward.
During this 10th anniversary year of September 11th, it has become apparent to me, that from my perspective, the world as we knew it before that fateful, terrible day, was forever changed – however, with varying degrees of firm definition. We remain in the midst of struggles regarding troops in Afghanistan and have a terror threat alert system, but few people know what to do with it. We, as Americans, live knowing, in the backs of our minds – that a terror attack can certainly occur here on our own soil and not just thousands of miles away, on television. Some first responders to the disaster on 9/11 seem to have to struggle for medical care for ailments stemming from their heroic acts. And perhaps the greatest overt change of all - air travel security. These, in addition to many other ways things have changed.
Having lived and worked in the New York City area for the past seven years, and often heading back to visit the Midwest, where I’m originally from, I have sensed this limbo, of sorts. Of course, things have progressed, but now – more than ever – it seems that while people want to remember, they still want to continue moving forward. On 9/11, we as a nation were traumatized in an entirely new way and for me personally, especially from a perspective of faith, this can make it difficult to understand exactly what to take away from such atrocity. My hope is that from this point forward, with so many images, stories and memorials in the spotlight, honoring the heroes who lost their lives on 9/11/01, as many as possible who have not yet done so, will find some type of closure. Perhaps others, if they have not already done so, will find at least one thing they can take and learn – and with which they can look to a brighter future. As the famous Gandhi quote says, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Keeping in mind the changes thrust upon us, outside of our will on that day, I feel that the important question has become, “How can you tangibly take a “gospel step” and be active in loving others and in living a brave life which in its own way, wars against the hatred that bred 9/11?”
I’ll leave you with the verse that I consider my “life verse.” It is a glimmer of hope and light, buried deep within the book of Lamentations.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.- Lamentations 3:19-23 (NIV)
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Sharing her heart with others and opening positive communication through writing is a strong passion of Yolanda F. Johnson .
Yolanda currently resides in New York, where she is an opera singer and arts administrator. She has many things to share about Christianity, as related to current events and arts/culture.
Recently, Yolanda was appointed as the Foundation for Post Conflict Development's Representative to the United Nations.