Ten Years

It’s hard to believe that I am to that age when I can look back a decade or more, remembering events that occurred and in those memories I am still an adult. You reach adulthood and the things that change about yourself seem to slow down (as opposed to childhood when you change so dramatically from year to year) but things around you seem to change at an alarming rate. As I look back ten years from today, I feel like much the same person I was then, but so many things are different.

Ten years ago, I woke up and got ready for my second day at a new job. Change does not come easily to me, so starting a new job (though it was just a “little part-time job”) was a big deal to me. Anytime things around me change in a relatively big way, I feel a little out of sorts for a while, trying to settle into the newness until it becomes normal. So this day ten years ago already started out with me feeling a little unsettled, but in a good way.

As I was getting ready for work, the change of a new job began to look miniscule as I stared at that little stick in disbelief. I had held those little sticks in my hand many times before, but always with a sick feeling of disappointment in my gut. This time it was different. Finally. It seemed too good to be true, and I had to show it to Chris to confirm it. But true it was. In that moment, our lives changed forever for the better. The harder, but the better. Madeleine was on her way.

I can’t remember every detail, but I’m sure my mind and emotions were wavering back and forth between elation and worry. That pretty much describes parenting, I guess. It seemed that we’d be parents at last, but what if something happened to this precious little life? As I tried to get my mind around this amazing change in my life, Chris left for work and our day began. I’m sure my thoughts were consumed by our exciting news. Maybe that’s one reason it took me so long to realize what was happening on the tv screen.

I passed by the little television set on top of our chest of drawers as I was getting ready to head out the door, and I stopped to see what all the confusion was about on the Today Show. That’s funny to me, because I had forgotten that I used to be able to watch morning television that did not involve Elmo. I found the plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers amazingly odd, but it just looked like a little bitty plane. I’m a horrible person that more easily dismisses tragedy that just affects a few people who live very different lives than me in very different places than me. But I kept watching as the people on the tv tried to figure out what had happened. And then it became apparent what was happening as America watched the second plane hit the second building. Unbelievable.

I called Chris and told him what I’d just seen, but then I had to leave because I was going to be late to work. As it turns out, there wouldn’t be much work getting done that day. As news of the next two planes arrived and then as the whole thing became even more nightmarish when the towers fell, life in our nation stopped. But the little life inside of me just kept growing. The events of that day made the life in me seem even scarier and more miraculous than it already was. What kind of world are we bringing this child into? How does life go on in the midst of so much death?

Ten years later, what seemed so tragic has become something we can mention in passing and go many days without even thinking about. And something that seemed so miraculous can seem so commonplace when she’s leaving dirty clothes in the floor for the 1057th time. The tragic and the miraculous have become the “new normal.” When that happens, I think it’s time to stop and remember. We need to regain our perspective. Evil is never okay. Death is never easy. Our children are nothing short of miraculous blessings. And life is always meant to be cherished.

Stop today and look at the tragic - the sin and certain death of us all. Be horrified. Let it make you sick to your stomach as it did ten years ago. But then turn your eyes to the life and salvation that has been given to you and be thankful. Appreciate it more as it stands in comparison to the horror we would all face without it. As light shines more brightly when your eyes are used to the darkness, so the miracle of eternal life is blindingly brilliant when we’ve been gazing at the blackness we deserve.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. Ephesians 2:4-5


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