I Am Changed

On September 10, I wondered why God didn’t answer our prayers for a baby.  For months, we waited, hopeful that we would be blessed with a child.  We were surprised by our disappointment, given the fact that we married without any desire to have children at all.  (Too many years working in restaurants cleaning gummed-up cracker paste off table tops ruined the allure of parenthood.)

On September 11, my own difficulties became trivial.  One moment shattered my illusions of safety.  One day redefined what I thought I knew.  That day, I thanked God for not answering our prayers.  A child shouldn’t have to live in such a damaged world, I thought.

The thing I didn’t ponder immediately was that world has been messed up since nearly the beginning.  All this time, innocent people have died at the hands of those who felt they were justified.  September 11, 2001 was the culmination of an orchestrated symphony of hatred.

The only difference?  It hit close to home.  True, it happened on the other side of the country, but I mourned for the families of those who died; those who committed no crime except going to work that day, or boarding an ill-fated flight.

On September 12, I drove to work with the rising sun, just like I had done for my entire post-college career.  (Okay, it was only about five years, but I’ve known the rising sun forever.)  The hopelessness I took to bed, at some point during the night, fled into the darkness.  In my car, I listened to the music on the radio, just like I did every morning.  In the aftermath of tragedy, sunshine and music comforted me.  Fear dwelled inside me, but I vowed:  fear would not bind me forever.

Three days later, madness found its way to my area.  A Sikh was killed in retaliation for the WTC attacks, targeted because of the clothes he wore and his “Arab” appearance.  I felt sick.  It seemed that hatred bred anger and more hatred – and I feared it would spread like a wildfire in the dry Arizona forest, destroying everyone in its path.  Thankfully, the embers did not ignite.

On this September 11th, ten years and two children later, I refuse to live in fear.  I live, because that’s what I’m supposed to do.  I feel sadness for those who lost loved ones on that day, while I thank God daily for the blessings in my life.  I go to work five days a week, but my job is not my life.  I reject hatred as a way to avoid people or faiths I don’t understand.

If I show fear or animosity toward another person because of their country of origin, appearance, or religion, how would I be any different from those men who took hundreds of lives ten years ago today?

How did September 11th touch you?  Did you rethink your career, or your priorities?  Did you decide to travel more, or less?  Did you move closer to family?  Spend more time with friends?

23 thoughts on “I Am Changed

  1. Carl D'Agostino September 11, 2011 / 3:19 AM

    It gave me a wake up reminder of why they hate us. The West. It is beyond radical Islam. It is a reaction against the old colonialism of the European powers and the neocolonialism of the US. The policies of the US government which is dismissive of the value of other people and other cultures, the political intrigue and the presence of our military empire. On the other hand they generally like Americans as individuals, admire the standard of living and wish to imitate our culture. We have no sense of history and not the slightest clue how our government policies are detested by much of the world.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2011 / 7:26 PM

      I can see how the American military presence and foreign policies would make us a target. I don’t always agree with what is done and sometimes it feels like we make things our business that shouldn’t be. The media doesn’t help. We have to determine what is real vs. sensationalized.

      Thanks for sharing how 9-11 affected you, Carl.

  2. pattyabr September 11, 2011 / 6:17 AM

    10 years ago I had been in my new job for a little less than one year working for the government. 11 years later I am still in that job and the impact of 9/11 was the wars in Iraq & Aghanistan that have brought wounded soldiers in for care and healing following their service. War and violence wreck havoc on all. Healing of those scars takes a lifetime.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2011 / 7:31 PM

      Your job sounds difficult, but fulfilling at the same time, because you are helping them. I think the physical scars heal much quicker than the emotional ones…if the emotional ones ever heal at all.

      Thanks for visiting, Patty!

  3. nrhatch September 11, 2011 / 6:57 AM

    United we stand.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2011 / 7:31 PM

      The unity after the events was a bright spot in the tragedy, Nancy.

  4. pattisj September 11, 2011 / 12:42 PM

    I’d had no desire to board a plane beforehand, and certainly wasn’t interested for awhile afterward. But, eventually I did. Life lived in fear is not life at all–not the life God intended for us to live, anyway.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2011 / 7:32 PM

      You’re right, Patti. My reason for continuing as normal was more stubborn: if I changed my life out of fear, the terrorists won.

      Can’t let that happen!

  5. clarbojahn September 11, 2011 / 1:12 PM

    Having grown up in the constant reminder of what WWII did to my father, who survived the German occupation in Holland and two tenures in German Prison Camps starving and sick. My mothers stories not much better having survived the Hunger Winter of Holland. We came to the States as immigrants looking for a better life. But my parents never forgot “Home”.

    As an adult I have made a nice middle class home for myself and children here in America. I feel Bush lost a wonderful opportunity for reconciliation when he chose war over discussion and peace. When he wanted revenge instead. We did not need to go to war. We are not safer for it and have made many more enemies because of it.

    Yes, I was nervous for awhile after 9/11 because of what Bush did and what the media had to cover. If a different tact had been taken, things would have been better.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2011 / 7:54 PM

      I would have preferred peace to war, also. However, I think a big step away from peace came in the early 1990’s with the Gulf War (and the other George Bush). I have my own opinions about the motivations for the war, but I will keep them to myself 🙂

      I’m sorry your family endured so many hardships because of war, but I am glad you were able to build a comfortable life in the US. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, Clar.

  6. Debbie September 11, 2011 / 1:26 PM

    When evil things happen, we question whether we did the right thing by bringing innocent children into this world. I suspect our parents did, too. It seems to be the lot of one thinking generation to worry about that. However, our kids are reason for hope. Their optimism is inspiring, their resiliency encouraging. As long as we can instill faith and right in new generations, as long as we can tuck them in at night and do whatever it takes to protect them, there’s hope for our poor world.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2011 / 7:59 PM

      Beautiful comment, Debbie. My kids, especially my older son, have been asking lots of questions about 9-11. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can without scaring the wits out of them. I pray that their optimism stays with them.

  7. jollof September 12, 2011 / 9:30 AM

    September 11 confirmed one thing for me – the world is coming to an end soon. It’s probably going to get even worse before it gets any better. I can relate with you on the reluctance of bringing a child into this evil world but I would love to have children of my own – I just wish I could be Superman and be able to rescue them whenever disaster struck. Sept 11 has also made me keep in touch with family and friends a bit more. I feel more vulnerable now that there are similar attacks currently going on in Nigeria with the Boko Haram extremists setting off car bombs at random in some parts. I would also like to add that if Osama wasn’t killed there probably wouldn’t have been any real sense of closure for the victims’ families and friends – the bitterness might still have been prevalent and the wounds would still be raw. I watched most of the coverage on CNN yesterday and I was deeply moved. I also felt and still feel that to an extent Sept 11 brought people closer (especially in America) ever closer thank before.

    Great post JannaT!

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2011 / 11:05 PM

      Yeah, super-human abilities would be handy to have with children around. Too bad I’m stuck with average-at-best qualities 😉

      You bring up some good points, Jollof. First of all, even though the attacks happened in the U.S., they did have a world-wide impact; secondly, not everyone hates Americans; thirdly, other parts of the world are under attack; and finally, these tragedies present the opportunity for us to find solace in one another’s company – to be a community as God intended.

      I read an interesting story several weeks ago about a mom of a September 11th victim who forgave and became friends with the mom of one of the terrorists. Quite amazing really, when you consider how easy it would be to let anger keep the pain alive.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments – I’m glad you liked the post!

  8. momsomniac September 12, 2011 / 2:05 PM

    I linked to this in my most recent post. Please let me know if that’s a problem. Thank you for hsaring your thoughts.

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2011 / 11:13 PM

      I’m always honored when something I write resonates enough for someone to want to link to it. So, it’s never a problem, Momsomniac!

  9. Barb September 13, 2011 / 7:31 AM

    I went to a cinema close to the American Embassy in Rome (Via Veneto) on that day, so for once I immediately knew what happened – I don’t watch the news, but the newsagent had the radio on and from the mess in front of the Embassy I knew something big was happening. That’s my 9/11.
    Then I heard the stories from my friends in NY. Then I saw My name is Khan (sounds a lot like the Sikh episode).
    Then I went back to waiting for a world without borders…

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2011 / 8:38 PM

      Thanks for sharing your 9/11 story, Barb. It’s interesting to find how the events affected others around the world.

  10. bookjunkie September 15, 2011 / 12:29 AM

    I truly felt connected, in an emotional sense, to your words and the substance in this post. Thanks for writing this.

    • jannatwrites September 15, 2011 / 8:20 PM

      I’m glad you could relate to my sentiments, Bookjunkie. I only write what I feel, and I do appreciate you taking the time to read 🙂

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