We are driving home from church, just one boy and me–the radio on and the dj starts talking about the Memorial Service he had just attended in New York. I feel the eye roll. He reaches for the knob.
“Hey, mom,” he says, in that mock tone that only a teenager can effect. “Did you know today is the tenth anniversary of 9/11?”
I draw breath.
In his defense, I am weary of it too. It’s too hard to think about. It’s too hard not to. Too many people. Too much pain.
He was four years old. On that morning ten years ago, we were at his grandmother’s house. I had brought my abundance of tomatoes and my mother-in-law was going to help me do some canning—make spaghetti sauce, some salsa. We had dropped his two year-old brother off at preschool, so my red-headed boy was with me when it happened. We sat on the couch in stunned disbelief, tomatoes forgotten on the counter. He played in silence as we let grief spill over, fear move into hearts.
He was four years old.
I draw breath.
“It’s kind of a big deal, honey,” I say. And I search for words. Struggle to find the words that will open his heart to the grief of a nation. Come out of that adolescent self consumedness.
I tell him about Paul. How brilliant he was. About his quirkiness. How, when he studied at the med school library where I worked when I was in grad school, he brought his inline skates. How he would soar through the stacks every once in a while—just take a break from the books. He wanted to help people. He was doing good things.
“He was an amazing person,” I say. “And he will always be the face of 9/11 for me. Because I know he was not the only one. There were so many other amazing people that lost their life that day. And we should never forget that.”
My boy is quiet, and I worry. I don’t want to lecture. This is hard for a mature person to think about. What must be jumbling around in his fourteen year-old mind?
“It’s a very sad part of our story,” I continue. “But if we don’t learn from it, we’ve wasted so much pain. We should let this remind us that life is precious. That we don’t know when our last breath will come. We should live each moment better.”
He mumbles something about not wanting to think about it. And I understand. We are quiet the rest of the way home. And I am thinking about my words to my son.
Today, I will try to live better. I will search for God in the corner of each moment and in the open sky above. I will love with all my heart and tell it too.
I will remember. Do not let me forget.
How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.
Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: