Posted tagged ‘Rembering’

Hold on to the peace that surpasses all understanding

September 24, 2007

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Some days it rains. We cannot get around that. However, what we can do is seek shelter, raise an umbrella and put on our rain gear to protect ourselves from falling torrents, splashing puddles and lightening strikes. It is the same with the storms of life.

We can just muck along in the gossip, arguments and backbiting or we can choose to rise above it and seek a higher plain on which to stand.

This is an easy thing to say. But, when it comes down to actually turning the other cheek we sometimes balk at it, as too hard. When it comes to actually walking away from angry accusations thrown at you, it is too hard to do. When juicy gossip is floating around that will put you in the know, it is too hard to not listen. When someone has hurt you and you then catch them with their hand in the cookie jar, it is too hard to keep it to yourself.

Turning the other cheek, walking away, not listening, and keeping things to ourselves are not human traits. They are spiritual traits. Learned behavior. These are the keys to having the peace that is promised by Jesus. He will give us this peace, but we must obey to have it.

I fall down a lot in this area of my Christian life. I am too often quick with an angry retort, or push back when I am pushed. I don’t want to do these things; I just do them before I think. The human side of me wants instant satisfaction and revenge. The spiritual side of me is shoved aside as I basically say,” Wait a minute Jesus, I’ll handle this one.” He does not argue with me, He lets me proceed to make another mistake, because I choose to do this rather than remember the lessons I have been taught in the past. Obeying Him is always a choice; it is never forced on me.

I am always sorry afterward. I often feel shame for not obeying and living the example He gave His all to teach us. Yes, He forgives me, but when will I learn? How many times do I have to trip into this pitfall before I see I need to take another path? How much damage do I do to my creditability as a Christian?

If you preach it, you had best be living it. There are those always waiting and watching for you to fall so they can say, “I thought you said so and so.” And if they can see when my actions do not match, what I say, then they can see when they do match and this is my witness for Jesus.

It takes a long time to undo the harm and damage I do to my witnessing ability when I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Satan knows what buttons to push. He knows I hate injustice and he uses this against me. Hating injustice is a good thing, but not when you try to change things on your own. The fight is Jesus’ and He has already won it.

He does not want me to fly angrily into the fray, screaming and pushing, demanding to be heard. He does not want me to use the methods of those that I seek to show a better way. How can I tell someone that His way is better if I do not live it myself? Who would listen? Who would believe me?

No, what He wants is for me to follow His example and take the venues He has opened for me. I do not get to choose the terms of engagement, the battle plan if you will.  He will always provide a way to do His work if that is what He wishes you to do. He has more ways and means at His disposal than I can ever hope to imagine. You have to do it His way or not at all.

I do not get to pick and choose who I would like to see saved by Christ. He chooses, and He does not tell me who they are sometimes. To be sure that I do not do more damage than good, I must be the same all of the time, treating everyone the same. He was not a respecter of persons, neither should I be.

Friend or foe, He loves us all and sees the good in each of us. It is His choice as to who should be punished and how and when. Not mine. My part is to show His love to everyone I come in contact with. Yes, this is another thing that is so hard to do. But I try to remember that we sometimes entertain angels unbeknownst to us. And that I too was once wandering around lost and He chose to save me. Do I wish to deny others the same blessing that was freely given to me? Heavens no!

I use to laugh at the way some of the Jewish men would wear a Tefillin on their foreheads and hands. These are small boxes with scriptures in them. The first is from Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 and says, “And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes….”  I no longer laugh at this practice. It makes sense to me. It is to help them to remember. I need one that says, “There but by the grace of God, go I.”

I could remember better, if I spent more time in my Bible and less time wondering about what others are doing and saying. Those things are none of my business. His word is my business. It should be my primary business.

I suppose that what brought about me writing this blog today is the dismal way I failed yesterday at work. I became so angry that my blood pressure shot up enough to turn my face red. My anger did nothing to resolve the problem. However, I did not want to wait until Monday, when Human Resources are open. I wanted things done then, in my time, not in Christ’s chosen time. Therefore, I did a lot of damage to my reputation as one who is a Christian.

I was not the injured party. It was a shy sweet little Hispanic woman who barely speaks English. But you understand anger in any language when someone is screaming in your face. She was frightened and did not even know what was going on. A foul-mouthed bully was giving us all a hard time, but the Hispanic woman took the brunt of it. She was so thankful for my coming to her aid that she spent the rest of the day running over to my job to help me.

Now this is heart warming to me, but…! She may not be the one that Jesus had in mind for me to witness to. Maybe it was the foul-mouthed woman. At any rate, my behavior was deplorable and I am ashamed of how I handled the incident. I do not know if the damage can be undone. I am in pain because I may be that woman’s last chance to get to know Jesus. It is true that her actions appeared driven by Satan, but it is also apparent that mine were too.

I have to answer for my actions but if she is lost, God may call me to account for her soul too. He knows now that I am so sorry for what I did. He has forgiven me, of this I am sure. However, even with forgiveness there are always consequences and this weighs heavy on my heart now.

Since I love Jesus, I should not have such a hard time holding on to the peace He gives to us. But by my own willfulness, I have let go of this prized gift from my Lord and Savior. My prayer is that He will in His great mercy allow me to redeem myself at work and again be a good witness for Him.

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911– I Remember, I Will Not Forget

September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001 dawned as any other day. The sun came up as it always did, right on time. I left my job as always at 7am, and headed for home. I unwound a little by eating breakfast as I watched the news. No warning was given, because no one knew. I lay down to peaceful sleep, tired from the labor of the night before.

As I lay down to sleep, the events that culminated in the horror of the WTC had already begun. Terrorist were already aboard their flights. NORAD was in the middle of running a program called Vigilant or Global Guardian, which simulated a hijacking. President Bush was in route to a school to speak to elementary students. Donald Rumsfeld was hosting a breakfast. And millions of Americans were going about their lives, unaware of the plot that was happening overhead in the skies of their homeland.

As I fall deeper into my sleep, one plane is already hijacked by the terrorist and is reported by a flight attendant. At first, she is not believed, but then the airline officials decide to keep it to themselves instead of reporting it to the government. How terrified the people must have been as I slept on.

At 8:46 am, as I traipse through pleasant dreams, flight 11 slams into the north tower. It is a chilling thing to think about but at the exact same time, the plane hit the tower, fighter jets were ordered to scramble and find flight 11. But, it was already too late. And I turned over in my sleep and found a comfortable position, without a clue that my life had been changed forever.

I am not the only one who does not know what has happened. Our president is told only that a small plane has struck the north tower. It is believed to be nothing more than an accident. At this time, he is blissfully unaware that his country is under attack by terrorist. He sits in front of small children and listens as they read their lesson to him.

At 9:00 am, my highly agitated daughter wakes me. “Momma,” she says, “I know you need your sleep, but I thought you would want to see what has happened in New York. A plane has flown into the world Trade Center. It’s awful,”

I am visiting at her house for a week, so we can spend some time together. I am sleeping on her sofa. I turn over and through bleary eyes; I look at the TV across the room. The reporters are talking about the tower that is now in flames. Then I see a plane fly into the other tower. I am confused at first, I think it is a replay, but the reporters are saying something about another plane and the south tower. They too are highly agitated.

Then it hits me like icy water, it was not an accident, it was on purpose and both towers have been hit. I sit up and look at the instant replay, but I cannot believe what my eyes are seeing. I grow cold and my hands start to tremble. A thousand one word questions race through my mind. Why? How? Why? Who? Why? Why? Why?

I realize I am holding my breath, my chest hurts and my hands are covering my face. I look at the TV through trembling fingers. I brush a lock of hair that is not out of place, back into place. I adjust my position and pull the quilt around me but it offers no comfort. My great-great-grandmother made it, it should be comforting to me now, but it is not. There is nothing that can comfort me now, not even my God, for I cannot even pray. How can I pray when I cannot think? How can I form lucid thoughts when my mind is telling that what my eyes have been seeing cannot be true? I can’t accept it; I do not want to accept it. But this horror as real.

My mind is filled with brief glimpses, manufactured by an out of order brain, of what it must have been like for those in the towers. The shock, the fear, the disbelief, the urge to run when there was no time or place to run. My body still trembles but now I am visibly shaking all over. My daughter is concerned for me. She is young and does not understand that America must be under attack. It is only with great effort that I myself come to this conclusion. Then the human need to survive takes over and I ask for a hot cup of coffee.

My daughter turns off the air conditioner, in hopes of warming me up. Slowly the color returns to my face, but my eyes still do not cry. I need to go to the bathroom, but do not want to leave the TV. I am waiting for what comes next. The news is talking about President Bush being told. I do not know if it was then I saw it on TV or later in the day.

An agent comes in and whispers the news into his ear that another plane has crashed into the south tower. His face blanches slightly. He now knows what I know, that it was not an accident, but that we are under attack.

Bush makes a speech from the school and tells America that we are under attack. I already knew this. But shortly after this, the next thing I had been waiting for occurred. Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. I knew it was coming, but it was still a shock. It is then reported that another plane is hijacked and is on its way to Washington D.C. My heart nearly stops beating when I hear this. The coldness starts to return.

It grips me hard as I see, on TV, one of the towers start to collapse. It falls as if it is made of tinker toys. Dust and smoke billowing out around it. Again, I cannot breathe and cannot believe what my eyes are seeing. “Oh, God!” I cry out, and my daughter comes running in from the kitchen to see what is wrong. She watches the instant replay of the tower go down. I do not dwell on this for long because soon after this we learn that another plane has crashed in Pennsylvania.

I watch for an hour or two more. All of this has happened in just about one and half hours. It has been exhausting for me to watch. My body has run a gauntlet of all emotions known to mankind. I have still not cried but the tears will come. I go to the computer and sit there trying to gather some thoughts to add to my diary. Over the top of it, I keep a close eye on the TV. This is my diary entry for September 11, 2001:

Sept. 11, 2001 1:10 PM

Oh my God! Oh my God! I am in a state of shock. What could not happen, what should not happen—has happened. Today! I saw it happen on the TV. My eyes saw it but my mind keeps trying to spit it out. It can’t be. It is a nightmare from which I can’t awake. My hands are trembling, my heart is racing, my skin is cold. The whole world must be watching as we, the mighty are slain. No, no not slain, only wounded. But wounded so badly. Why? Why? Why? Have we not been there for the world in their hour of need? Who is there that we have not helped? How can anyone hate us so? I can’t get my head to work, to think. I have never known this feeling before, surprise, shock, horror, revulsion, pain, disbelief, helplessness, even fear. All at once and together, they hit me. Like a child in the midst of laughter suddenly slapped by a parent, they love, for no reason. Each thought comes back to “Why?”

My head keeps playing it over and over. The plane flying into the tower, the plane flying into the tower, the plane flying into the tower. It will not stop, I don’t need to look at the TV to see, it is etched in my soul forever. Burned into my vision. No way to look around it.

I can’t even pray. I can’t hold to a thought long enough. The picture keeps intruding. How can there be such hate? What kind of heart can harbor such? Did anyone look up from their desk and see it coming? Oh what utter confusion, what sheer disbelief. Do their mothers even know yet? That their child is gone in a blazing inferno?

I must be in shock. I know this because my eyes are dry but my heart is weeping. The very soul, which is me, is screaming and weeping in pain. I can’t write anymore now, the TV keeps calling to me. Is there more to come?

Surely no more. I am afraid. Some part of me has died, or is lost. I will never be the same again. We will never be the same again. Life as we knew it ended today.

Sept. 11, 2001 9 PM

I have not slept today. The picture keeps playing over and over. All of those people…gone. So many lives lost, so much of innocence lost…gone forever. I called in to see if we were working tonight. We are! But I do not understand why everyone is not at a standstill, with this great grief I feel inside of me. Maybe they handle it in another way, by keeping busy maybe. I will have to try. But I know I will only be a shell of myself, going through the motions. It is good that there will be someone telling me what to do, as I am unable to move myself. How much of this day will I actually remember once my mind starts to really function again? When I am in control. LOL that is quaint, when was I ever in control? Guess I should say when I again can pretend I am in control. I feel so very, very small now. Like a tiny little flower lying on the floor of some massive primordial jungle. Of no consequence at all.

Hope does still live in me. I just had a wonderful thought. God can see me. I have left Him out of this today. Was I afraid to ask why He allowed it to happen? Yes, I think so. I will leave that for another day, and just cling to Him and hope, that He alone can offer. I see so many on TV that are running to help, in any way they can. Trying to console those who will never kiss the sweet cheeks of their child again, or embrace their chosen partners that they vowed to love until death do us part. Death has parted them now in a horrible way. All of those lives, gone in just the blink of an eye. They will not be forgotten. The remembering of them will cause a great anger to grow in our hearts, that someone for their own gain could willfully inflict so much pain.

Sept 12, 2001 8:10 AM

I am home from work now. I must be on automatic, because I still can not think about what I am doing. Too much turmoil in my heart and mind. My head hurts and heart hurts and I just don’t understand anything anymore. How can one instant in time change so much, so fast?

If I could just get by that mental image of the plane as it flew in the WTC, then maybe I could go on and get back to as close to normal as I will ever be again. But it is there even when I close my eyes. It will not go away. It hurts so very bad, but there is no escaping it. I ask Jesus to remove it, but He must think it needful for me because it is still there. I trust Him, but it just hurts so badly. How many pieces can a heart break into? How long does it take for it to be totally broken to the point where it no longer feels the cracking and tearing apart? I do not know, but guess I will find out now. I am still at Jarie’s house. I am treated as royalty here. Ask to do nothing but to love. I wish though that the construction was complete and I was in my own cozy little home, where everything is so familiar. Then I could sit at my desk with the door open and watch the dawn come stealing over the hill outside and through the ivy laden oak trees that have been there forever.

My chest hurts, just a tight bundle of pain that has such a great weight. There must be a lesson somewhere in this for me. Or Jesus would not let it continue. But what?!? It is there, somewhere in the mishmash of my brain, but I couldn’t find my own nose right now, let alone anything in that tangled jungle of my mind. There is no order, no sense to me at all. It will come back, if I just give it time. Or am I losing my mind now? If so, I almost welcome it, because what is worse that being locked in here with all of this pain caused by the image of the plane flying into the tower, over and over again? Oh, sweet Jesus help me please.