I have never been to New York City.
It’s a place I’d like to see—the bustle, the noise, the aliveness of it all.
But it’s never been a place I’ve wanted to live. At heart, I’m still a small-town girl and a city like New York City would eat me alive. It’s why Nashville, a city with a small-town feel, fits me so well.
Today, I’ve been remembering. Remembering where I was when the towers fell. Remembering how it felt, who I was.
I was 22 years old that day 10 years ago, about to turn 23 in a few weeks time. I’d been living in Nashville since the end of June. I had just finished an internship with United Methodist Communications and a part-time job in a call center at LifeWay. Classes had barely begun at Vanderbilt’s Divinity School, and I was just beginning to get a sense of what I’d gotten myself into.
I was young and innocent in so many ways. I was out on my own for the first time, living in my first apartment and just stepping out into a new stage of life. I thought I knew exactly what steps my life would take, the way it would go. I thought I was so grownup and ready to take the world by the tail.
I remember watching the news that day, as I did every day, as I got ready for class. I remember realizing something strange was going on in NYC. I remember seeing the plane fly into the second tower. I dont’ remember being scared, but I do remember simply feeling shell-shocked, alone, not knowing what to feel. Confused. I remember my brother calling. I remember feeling like a zombie walking around in a world that continued spinning even though it felt like it should stop.
My 32-year-old self wants to comfort the girl I was on September 11, 2001. To tell her to simply rest in God, to trust, to seek His face. Ten years maturity—forged in mistakes, strengthened by experiences—help me to know what my 22-year-old self would have said she believed, but maybe didn’t quite understand: that there is evil in the world, but there is also a very good God whose heart breaks because of that evil, and a God who can use even the most terrible, sinful exploits of man for His purposes and His glory. I would tell myself to trust Him, let Him love her, to lean not on her own understanding.
Because 10 years ago, I was a girl, and now I’m a woman—a woman who knows that God is good despite what the world thinks and what evil people do. A woman who knows God NEVER abandons us. A woman who knows she can declare with Julian of Norwich in every situation that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
It’s been 10 years, and September seems like it happened only yesterday and like it happened an eternity ago. I pray I never experience another day like that again, but if I do, I pray that I allow the God I now know I can trust to carry me.