I am sure that, like me, you can vividly remember the moment you heard the news of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
We were living in a Oregon at the time. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The summer was fading into autumn, and like the season, my wife was fading as well. She had had a feeding tube surgically implanted in her chest the day before. It seemed she was barely hanging onto life. She was sleeping in a separate bedroom from me. I often wondered that fall if she would be alive when I opened her bedroom door in the mornings.
There was a TV in her room and we turned it on that morning. We were shocked by the video of huge planes being flown deliberately into the Twin Towers in New York. My sweet wife was so sick that the news was even more confusing and upsetting to her than it might otherwise have been. We had to turn the TV off. I remember feeling tormented that I couldn’t tune in to what was happening in the world and care for my wife at the same time.
It was a bewildering time for me. I was completely preoccupied. Medical bills were piling up and money was running low. I had little work. Our life seem to be falling apart. I didn’t know where to turn and what to do. All I could do was fall to my knees and look up.
I remember that I went outside into our front yard that afternoon. I looked up into the clear sky which was eerily silent because all airplanes had been grounded by government order. Though I was troubled that day more than I had been during anytime in my life, I knew that God was up there, somewhere beyond the limits of my sight, somewhere beyond the deep, beautiful, quiet, blue sky. I felt it in my soul and it brought me great peace.
He was there. He was in charge. I rested on that assurance. I had nothing else left.
P.S. I found out a few days later that the mother and sister of a friend in our ward happened to be on American Airlines Flight 11, the plane that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. It was a total shock—someone I knew personally had been directly affected by the attack. It put my ordeal into humble perspective. Mine was the lighter burden to bear.