On this day in 2001, we all grieved as a nation. We grieved for thousands of people that we didn’t even know. I keep this panoramic shot on my fridge, because I know it is important to remember September 11th. This morning I snapped a shot of it on my phone, ready to share it on social media as a token of remembrance and sympathy, but I wanted to change it. I wanted to punch it up visually and to make it stand out, because it was an old memory. It was a photo taken from a digital camera by my teenage self in the year 1999. It has started to become dingy and faded. As I scrolled through my photo editing choices, the filter entitled “memory” seemed appropriate. The gray and cracked skyline seems to be disappearing, just like our memories. In an effort to digitally accentuate an old picture, it looks even older, but hauntingly beautiful. What an interesting window into our reality. We are starting to forget. 9/11 is becoming just as the filter says. A memory. Yet people are still grieving, with no hope of their grief ever fading away.
Anytime I have loved ones struggling with grief, I want to make it all better. I want the right words of comfort and hope to pour out of me like a fountain. Rarely does it happen. I hesitate to offer condolences, because I don’t know what to say or how to say it. Will they be bitter with me if I text instead of call? Sometimes I offer to cook meals for them, even though I have no idea if my bank account agrees that I can. Sometimes I rack my brain for days and days about how stupid I was to say whatever it was I said and that I probably made matters worse. I want to punch up the picture. A picture of tears and wailing and despair. I want to bring light to a clouded soul. Some days I can see it as an exercise in futility. There isn’t anything I can do. People are suffering and nothing I say or do will change the past. We can post all of these heartfelt messages and promise to never forget, and it is beautiful that we can come together, but what happens tomorrow? Political squabbles continue, people will lose jobs and crimes will be committed Divorce, poverty, pettiness, abortion, suicide, still remain. Grief is still all around us. Honestly, I hate the world right now. I hate that I don’t have millions of dollars to feed the hungry. I hate that I can’t speak comfort to everyone who is hurting. I hate that this world is a picture of darkness and evil. But what emphasizes this, is sadly, social media. We wouldn’t be as exposed to it if we didn’t check it multiple times a day. Social media digs us deep into despair. It also digs into our anxiety while we compare our lives to other people’s “filtered happiness” which hides the same grief and helplessness everyone feels. We want our lives to look beautiful. We want to stand out, but it will fade. In time it will just be another memory.
The Bible says to be still. I don’t want to be still while there is so much pain. It was comforting to read the letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. It seemed he didn’t even know what to say when others were hurting either. He struggled to sympathize and comfort as well, but the point is, he expressed his love the best way he could.
I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
2 Corinthians 2:1-4 NLT
Jesus has great love for us and even he wept. In our suffering, we can imagine he weeps with us as our comforting Abba Father. Our Jehovah Rafa, our healer. I know the power of prayer and I know that it certainly isn’t futile. We have to have the faith, because with prayer, mountains are moved, enemies are defeated and our grief turns to joy.
I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord and He heard me. Jonah 2:2
So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
John 16:22 NLT
“Sorrow may come in the darkest night, but the Cross has the final word.”-Cody Carnes