Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States. Those living in New York City, those working in Washington D.C. and those traveling by air that day were vulnerable in ways which the world had never conceived. The nation watched in horror as civilians signaled for help but couldn't be saved in time, and died in an inferno before our eyes. We ached with the all of the country as we witnessed the first responders bravely enter the Twin Towers in an attempt to help those trapped inside, and then saw that they would never come out again. We can hear their voices in radio transmissions, their last words recorded. We saw images of our nation's capitol under attack before we understood exactly what was happening. And we learned of the heroic actions of a plane full of travelers who banded together to stop what would have been a second attack on Washington D.C. if they had not sacrificed themselves to prevent it.
We struggled to wrap our minds around the evil that had conceived of this blatant act of terror. And I'm not only referring to Osama Bin Laden, but to the very real evil that inspired the idea and recruited willing accomplices to carry it out. Osama Bin Laden was a tool. Sadly, he was a tool of evil and a perpetrator of lies, but he was a player in a much larger theater than even he knew.
We all must take care that we not become so full of zeal that we miss the very heart of the God we claim to serve. It is a danger, particularly in this age, when zealots are aplenty. The thing about zealots is that they are so self-righteous that this trait alone gives them away. None of us should be that sure of ourselves before God. It is humility that is the hallmark of God's true followers. They possess a humility not without conviction, but humility that recognizes their personal limitations and the greatness of the One who Is. They can be found in many religions. It is a shame that so many, who perhaps are or were well meaning, are led astray by lies, promises and empty reassurances. It is not the proud who will inherit the earth. It is not the self-righteous who will earn God's favor. It is in humility and dependence on God alone, and trusting in His providence, His justice, His will. We do not force God's hand.
So yesterday morning, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, our hearts were turned to remembering those who died. All of them.
This was my view outside yesterday morning, September 11, 2011. No editing. Calm and quiet. Somber. A fog hung over the sky, obscuring the view. Ten years ago we were shocked and horrified, saddened and confused. It's like it was yesterday, at times. The years have provided us time and perspective and yet we still try to understand and learn something from this tragedy. We remember and honor those who died. May there be peace in our world, peace in our hearts.
Today, September 12, 2011, provided a new view. This is the same tree that I photographed yesterday in the fog, yet this is a more hopeful image. In time, the fog of our grief lifts; it rises and we see that the sun still shines in the sky, illuminating our view. Be patient with yourselves and with others. Pray that our vision may be clear.
And still, later this afternoon, this was the view out our back window. A full rainbow across the sky. A promise, written by His own hand.