To state the obvious for anyone over the age of 20, yesterday was the the 10th anniversary of the events of 9-11-2001. Much has been written and said about how we all feel about what happened in 2001, and what we think of the years since. But I would like to share with you what I felt about, well, yesterday.
First of all, I am as much an anniversary driven creature as any other human. I was thinking yesterday as I drove out of our driveway, how much like my dog Gracie I really am. When something unpleasant or frightening happens to her, she instinctively expects it to happen again, at the same time, in the same way — that’s why training works; she barks, she gets a timeout; but she successfully sits, she gets a treat. Same context, same expected outcome — either negative or positive. And I must confess that, as I looked at the beautiful clear blue sky and felt the beginnings of fall in the air, as the clock ticked past the moments when first one plane and then another was used for destruction, past the moment when the impact at the Pentagon shook the ground underneath my feet on Capitol Hill — I, like Gracie, cringed with expectaction that something bad would once again happen. Just a little cringe, a cring that I knew to be irrational but I, like my puppy, just couldn’t stop the instinctual response.
But it was time for church, and it was a big day –more than 9/11, it was also September 11 — the 150th anniversary of the first recorded worship service on the spot where the Calvary Baptist Church now stands…and I had worshipping and singing to do. And do you know what I discovered? Our fall theme of “Life Together” and our stewardship theme of “Better Together”, well those words really express the gift I received yesterday.
In 2001, I didn’t even know what the Calvary Baptist Church was…and I certainly didn’t have a clue what it might mean to my life to be part of a group that calls themselves “a different kind of Baptist.” In 2001, I embraced every possible stereotype about the word “Baptist“. I was in fact “between” church communities and I could probably have been overheard to say (please forgive me) that I was very spiritual but I didn’t believe in going to church any longer. I was in a big period of transition, starting music school, changing teachers and coaches — if you are a singer you know that this is a challenging time, particularly when you have only worked with one person and that for almost 10 years. We had only recently moved into our new house…so many things had changed. And the community that had been such a big part of my life for those 10 years had drifted away.
In 2001, I was pretty alone. In 2011, I was not.
And yesterday, as we remembered so many things, there was healing and love and freedom from fear, mixed with the reality of looking at the whole story. And with the call to embrace all that we are and all that we have been and all that we can be, I could truly say — it was better together.