Remembering September 11th

This post first appeared September 11, 2011. The lessons are still relevant. It seemed appropriate to bring it back in light of all that is going on in the world.

By: Jackie

By: Jackie

“Tomorrow’s September 11th,” I told our daughter.

“I know. I hope we don’t get any weird calls.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Did you know that our center answered the flight attendant’s call that day?”

My daughter works for American Airlines. She was imagining what it would be like to receive a call from someone on a plane hijacked by terrorists on a suicide mission. The thought sobered us both.

The man who talked to the fight attendant on that ill fated flight has since passed away. We can’t ask him how that experience affected him. But others have shared how their lives changed forever. How little control we had to stop the events and damage once it began.

Airline agents weren’t trained to handle calls from planes hijacked by terrorists. Most tragedies invade our lives with little or no warning. A track record of personal integrity and closeness to God steer us in such times.

The Sunday cartoonists expressed their feelings. Most communicated the importance of conveying love instead of taking our loved ones for granted. Some expressed only grief and confusion. One expressed sarcasm.

I was reminded that you never know what a day will bring. It doesn’t have to be a terrorist attack; it can be an accident, doctor’s report, or the revelation of a double life. There are many ways to turn a life upside down—not all bad. “You’re having twins,” will do.

It sounds like Solomon had witnessed his own September 11th, “When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next. I have seen everything during this senseless life of mine. I have seen good citizens die for doing the right thing, and I have seen criminals live to a ripe old age” (Ecclesiastes 7:14-15 Contemporary English Version (CEV)).

God doesn’t want us to live on autopilot. He wants us to be intentional and in tune with Him, others, and life. Tragedy reminds us that life can change. Instead of taking good times for granted, enjoy them. Bad times put small irritations in perspective. Why would I let this irk me?

Ginny returned home from work today relieved there were no alarming calls. “One woman called to be sure everything was fine before boarding her flight.” Pausing to remember September 11, 2001 reminded me that ordinary is a gift. I want to savor each day so when it is my time to leave this planet, I will without regret.

What helps you slow down and appreciate ordinary days? Click here to share your thoughts.


Ladies, I’ll be doing the workshop “From Messy Emotions to Mighty Faith” at Hephzibah Baptist Church’s Ladies’ Retreat. It will be held at the church in Wendell, NC, September 26-27, 2014. I’d love to see you there.

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  1. Ralph Smith

    Ordinary is a blessing here, I agree. Ordinary is not a wonderful time for the vast majority of the worlds inhabitants is not. With great abundance comes great responsibility. I hope we learn to exercise it as God would have us. Thank you for your insights!

  2. Karen Zilen

    Hi Debbie,

    You are a very good writer and I especially appreciate what you wrote today. thank you. John & I will pray for your marriage retreat. We’d love to go to that as participants :-)!
    Please pray for us on the 14-16 as well as we are having Dep’t mtgs. here and not easy. Thank you.
    Love you,
    Karen for John too

  3. Ann Musico

    Powerfully said Debbie and definitely worth repeating. “Ordinary is a gift” – there is so much truth in that – I will intentionally appreciate the ordinary today.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Ann. I want to learn to savor and appreciate the everyday aspects of life I too often take for granted.

  4. Marilyn

    Debbie, this quote by Jon Courson reminded me of the Cross that was
    discovered among the ruins at Ground Zero – “…when you come to a
    crossroads of wondering what God’s Will is, look at Calvary and be reminded
    once again that if God loved you enough to die for you, there is no doubt He
    will do what’s best for you.”

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Marilyn. The cross is the place to look when life is confusing.

  5. Earle Finley

    Debbie, we were really blessed by your blog. We can think of at least three or four 9/11 experiences as a couple and at every point God demonstrated His Grace to be more than sufficient.


    Earle & Sara

    • Debbie Wilson

      Earle, what a beautiful testimony and lesson for us all to remember. Thanks for sharing with us. Bless you both.

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