I’ve been sitting here this morning for over an hour, staring at a blank screen. Today is 9/11, and I’m a day late getting this piece scheduled. I have meandered through my Facebook posts, have taken out over 800 emails from my inbox, and am sipping on my second cup of coffee. I’m resorting to stream of consciousness writing because I can’t get the words to come out. They’re locked in my brain somewhere, and I have neither the key nor the combination.
Today is 9/11.
I should be focused on the significance of this day. However, the only thing I feel is an overwhelming weariness tinged with grief. There are too many obligations, too many responsibilities, and never enough time. And then this specter of past atrocity mists across the landscape and whatever strength I have is vaporized.
I want to pray, for those left to stare into the deep abyss that the collapse of those towers brought. I want to hold up those who died in the Pentagon that day, those that never had a chance when thin-skinned aircraft collided into steel and glass, for the firefighters that went in and never came out, and for a flight of passengers that went down as heroes in a Pennsylvania field who, once recognizing the events that were unfolding, preferred death over submission to evil.
Perhaps part of what has me immobilized today is the recognition that the evil is still out there as blatant (if not more so) than ever before, that ten years of war and the death of our children, our husbands and wives, our mothers and fathers has not made a dent in the number of people that want to kill us or subjugate us. We fight and we fight… and for what?
Today I am overwhelmed with the futility of it all, and I think that’s why I am so numb. Today I have more in common with the son of David who penned Ecclesiastes than with his father who wrote most of the psalms.
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2)
This writer goes on to express exactly what is in my heart, that “everything is wearisome, more than one can express” (Ecclesiastes 1:8a).
I feel guilty, because I am a child of God, and I should know that in the end we win. I should know that yes, this world is compromised and that while evil may seem to flourish and abound in more and more places, while the love for God may wax cold in many, many hearts, and while the vulgarity of the sinful nature of our species may become more and more insidious, we are actually only watching remnants of battles, not the outcome of the war.
We’ve already won that through the death and resurrection of Jesus. So I sit here and pray that God will break through the numbness, through the grief, through the weariness. I should not feel this way, knowing what I know.
For everything there is a season,a right time for every intention under heaven—a time to be born and a time to die,a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance,a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones,a time to embrace and a time to refrain,a time to search and a time to give up,a time to keep and time to discard,a time to tear and a time to sew,a time to keep silent and a time to speak,a time to love and a time to hate,a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
These passages seem to tell me that I have His permission to feel the negative with good, that it is all a part of this life that I live, and all equally valid expressions of the human experience. Perhaps this weariness is a not-so-subtle reminder that I can do nothing without the strength that He gives me to carry on.
Today, I will weep and mourn. I will sit in silence and think about the futility of it all. I will ponder not only the significance of this day, but the direction of my life and if I’m where I need to be. Am I on the path God has chosen for me, or am I on a path that is of my own making? It’s okay to think about these things, to work through them and around them, so long as I don’t allow myself to remain in this spot.