Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you when..

The day had started early, and our arts show producer needed to pre-record an interview with the conductor of the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, talking up the concert program for the coming weekend. Maestro Polochik was in Baltimore, so the interview was by phone from our studio. Both producer and conductor laughed and talked enthusiastically about the upcoming show. For that hour, we were in a bubble which reality, happening in the outer world, had not burst.

Interview complete, we left the production studio, and walked past the broadcast studio as headed back to our desks. A TV monitor caught my eye, and I stopped to watch. I saw one of the World Trade Center towers smoking, and someone next to me said that an airplane had flown into it. An Air Traffic Control screw-up, I thought to myself, here come the lawyers… the thought came to a screeching halt when the second plane hit the towers. My stomach dropped to the soles of my feet. There was a dawning horror that something terrible was happening that would reverberate for a long time to come. News of the Pentagon crash and Flight 93 trickled in, and it was the start of one of the longest days in recent memory.

I’m sure that most bystanders’ stories converge at this point, a blur of television and radio news, phone calls to family and loved ones on the East Coast, scattered and fervent prayers to a deity of personal affection.

Later, after a day at work of which little labor was done, I picked up my wife and infant son from our apartment, and drove them across town. We spoke, in numb shock, of what had happened, of what was known at the time. As we drove , we saw people in panicked lines at gas stations, as if the world were going to end without gasoline.

My wife had an appointment, and I was supposed to take our son and do some shopping while she was at her appointment. I dropped her off, and went to our parish church, which was the only place I could think to go on this day. The parking lot was empty, and so I loaded the baby in our sling, and went to try the door, hoping it was unlocked.

The door yielded without complaint, and I was welcomed by the cool darkness of the unlit church. I wound my way to the tabernacle, and the lit candle beside it, indicating that our Lord was present in the Eucharist within. And there, I gave Him my grief, my sorrow, prayers for those others who were grieving at the loss of a loved one, and prayers for those whose hatred made this disaster possible. The darkness and the silence were comforting: it was just me (with the baby) and God.

After a long while, I took the baby outside, and sat on a swing in a nearby playground. As we swayed together on the swing, I told my son about evil, and how I hoped that some had found faith in the face of this disaster, and my fears for those who would lose it as well.

It’s been a long five years in the interim. Have you found faith, or have you lost it?


Dad29 said...

One could hardly be a sentient US citizen and have "lost" faith since 9/11.

But 'sentient' requires a lot, eh?

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Yes, sentience is a great responsibility, and it is not handed out very freely.

Searching For Holiness said...

Both Lost it and found it.