Playdates With God: Remember

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.

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  1. says

    Well done. I appreciate your reflections and perspective, and I’m sure your son did also. My eldest was four that day as well. It is so important we remember. Looking at a 14 year-old we can see how much changes in ten years—and how much we need to remember.

  2. says

    You did an amazing job in responding to your young man. I dont think any of us will ever forget. I know I never will. I was recovering from surgand was watching Good Mornign American and I couldnt believe what I was seeing and hearing. The images still very vivid and real to me as if they were just happening.
    Though three years ago God blessed us with a new grandson on the 11th of Sept. So it brings new joy to me in showing me new life and new begings. My daughter Heather was born on the 7th of Dec. and her son the 11th of Sept. I think what was God thinking. It blesses me to see life out of the rumble. Faces and stories of lives changed forever and hope out of the rumble.

  3. says

    They really do listen to us… they just don’t always want to let us know it. So honorable that you remembered this man to your son… he will remember it.

    (Brace yourself for my silly side today… =)

  4. says

    i too was getting a bit overwhelmed with the news coverage, and yet, learned a lot from listening to some of it. there was a interview of a firefighter on the public radio station that was really good to hear.

    the media is either turned on high on what it is focused on and then abruptly turns off and goes on to the next thing. no lingering. and sometimes it seems that people have started to pattern to that in their own life.

  5. says

    If we don’t learn from the pain, we waste it. Such wise words. He heard you, Laura. I’m sure of it. Every moment. Every breath. A gift. How quickly our towers can fall. Yet our God still stands above all.

  6. says

    My children were in 5th grade and glued to the TV as well. They still remember it and their minds still try to wrap around the whole event.
    I linked up my post for today but will take it off tonight when it turns into a blog hop. Hope that is ok. I think I can remove it. If not, please do it for me. It stays just a post until 8PM central time

  7. says

    Laura, you met him with wisdom and honesty. That’s doing better than many–maybe even most–when the going gets tough.

    My girl was 19. I think that day was the absolute, irretrievable end of her adolescence.

    We were together that day, and we sat together a long time….

  8. says

    I love that this playdate is not what we think of as play. Still it’s a meet-up and not so much the CHALLENGE of explaining it to him but the OPPORTUNITY to tell him where your thoughts go, how you grab hold of something too big to grasp. You have given him a gift.

  9. says

    I loved this post and your answers to your son. He is growing up and that is good. We remember a lot of things, Like Pearl Harbor and the annihilation of the Jews in the World War II camps. We must remember the terror and also the kindness that was there when these things happened in history. The last 10 years have brought our world more (natural) devastation, and yet people rallied to help and assist those in need.

  10. says

    I couldn’t watch or listen to anything that day…I just can’t get the images out of my head. It was my oldest’s first day in a homeschool coop for highschool.

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