Ten years ago the face of the world changed. For many of us it changed in a way that haunts us still. There are people who only think of the DAY - 9/11 and remember it for all the horror that it was. For all the hope that withered and the heroism that inspires us.
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
For me the days before and the days after have the biggest impact. They are the ones that bring me to prayer in gratitude and intercession. They are the ones that I won't forget.
Two days before I was in New York, in Manhattan, with the Fire Marshalls. We ate lunch, we drove around, we talked about coming together the following spring for a training exchange. We laughed about family, life and how different it was for a Canadian fire fighter from the prairies and for the high rise smoke eaters of NYC. It was a meeting of two different worlds. It was a meeting of common ground. It was the beginning of friendships.
The day after 9/11 I waited to hear who made it out and we mourned who didn't. We set up chat rooms and we talked long into the night. We all couldn't go to be there and help but we found ways to support each other across the miles. We found ways to pray and share and stick together.
Those waiting days, hours, were accented by the silent skies above. Heightened security. Crazy fears. Silent skies. No jet streams. no flights that were not military. It was so frightening to think the world could be suddenly so changed.
Raising money for families, sharing stories, sending love and support. Listening to the darkness of the days when hope withered away. There is nothing worse for the responder community. We serve, we protect, we pull life from the wreckage. There was so little to do, everyone was ready and prepared but nothing prepared us for this.
Jesus rose on the third day. I cannot help but think that His people felt like we did. The world was changed forever. The curtain ripped, the sky darkened, the Beloved entombed. No washing of feet, no gentle lessons. Nothing but silent skies and darkness.
Nothing Jesus could do or say was enough preparation for His death. Nothing Jesus could promise or paint with words could express their amazement at His resurrection.
Faith sometimes requires us to take the darkest, most silent path and in that journey we find not only the light within, but also the light of God without. On those dark days we walked around by feel and there were a lot of tears, some dark gallows humor and tons of prayers. We connected in ways that brought us closer. It didn't matter where you were from. It mattered that you knew the smell of smoke and understood the call that brought us all to serve in ways big and small.
Why can't we, as sisters and brothers in Christ, do the same? We know the stain of sin and the miracle of redemption. We are His people, living in wonderful grace. We, who have so much, need to take a few lessons from the open hands of those who had nothing to give but their bodies for people they did not know but loved all the same.
1 John 3:16 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to laydown our lives for our brothers and sisters."
Trust me, the best friend you never knew you had is the one who pulls you from the fire. From the wreckage. From the disaster. From your doom. Everyone who reaches out and finds a hand grasping theirs knows it. It doesn't matter whose hand it is, it matters that we reach out. That we keep reaching. We keep loving. Praying. Believing. Being.
Where did your hands reach today? Was it with God's love and grace they were filled? Fists cannot give or receive anything but pain and fear. Open hands can reach, grasp, pull and hold. They give, and receive. Jesus's hands were open for us. How can ours be anything less?
(Kelty, Bill, Frank, Ron - miss you my friends, praying for your families and you. Proud to call you and all who responded in every way the could brothers and sisters.)