When traumatic events go down…

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I experienced the terror 9/11. I was a senior at St. Peter’s girl’s high school in Staten Island, NY and it was a morning like any other. I always loved walking from the bus stop and looking at the beautiful Manhatten skyline. We all went to class that morning (in my case Drama). Then tragedy struck. You could hear the airplane hit the towers. It was an echoing sound I’ll never forget. Moments later fear panic and confusion took over. Plenty of us had parents who worked in the city. Were they going to come home? Not only did we hear the plane crash, we heard the towers fall. Our city was covered in shock, fear, confusion, and terror. I went to a Catholic school- so every day for months there were funeral services for families who lost others that day.

Shock, fear, trauma. You can insert any story that changed the lives of so many. It’s not enough to experience a terror attack but loose someone’s you love as well?! It almost feels offensive to be asked to ‘move on’ from what happened. It took me 16 years to finally be able to look at images from 9/11 and not burst out crying. That day, my family was blessed to lose no one- and it was a matter of minutes or a sudden change of plans that day that saved the lives of those I love.

This is the story of so many in our country right now. Maybe it was not the horrific circumstances of the Las Vegas shooting. Maybe it was someone who lost family in so many hurricanes that have ravaged our country, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands included.

Maybe it was a policeman or firefighter lost in the line of duty, or maybe it was someone like Eric Garner- who would wait with my sister on her early shifts as a check cashier to make sure she was

safe. The loss of his life has sent ripple effects throughout our country to this day.

Maybe it was like me- getting a check-up to make sure my baby is ok and hearing her heartbeat, not realizing 8 hours later I would never hear it again.

Maybe it was like me- getting a check-up to make sure my baby is ok and hearing her heartbeat, not realizing 8 hours later I would never hear it again.

Whoever it was that you suddenly lost- their life mattered to you.

That life mattered to a friend, mother, or sister, brother or father.

That life mattered to God.

How does it seem possible to believe in Jesus and to have hope in a savior during so much death, hurt and pain?

1. He’s an anchor when everything feels dismantled. The first 24 hours in the hospital after I lost Phoebe was hell. All I could see was her birth over and over and I can never forget the wailing and screaming I made for the entire ordeal. Trauma wants to shock you, then keep it on repeat to stun you into immobility.

2. He cries with you. There is no pain so insignificant he doesn’t care.

3. He can take a punch- yell at him all you want. He can handle it. Are you angry? Tell him. King David wrote poems about it all the time.

4. He sees you when you feel totally alone. Hagar found herself in the desert dying of thirst with her son.  She placed her child dying of thirst  100 yards away from her and hoped death would be swift, not wanting to see him die. But then she experienced the living God.  He heard her sons cry and her eyes were opened to see a well of water that would save their lives (Genesis chapter 16).

It’s hard to not despair in traumatic events, but in the wise words of Morilla from Anne of Green Gables “To despair is to forget God.”

Let us not despair in what is happening, we can lose ourselves in the process.

Galatians chapter 6:9 says ‘So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up’.

Right now, I ask anyone who reads this- don’t give up. We will make it through.

 

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