I remember where I was on 9/11. I was at home with my toddler and my one month old in my arms. My husband was a college student.
He and I were trying to keep it together. We were struggling as a couple, and our marriage was suffering. It felt broken, maybe even lost. Life was difficult and somewhat painful for us. Then my husband called.
“Turn on the TV! Turn on the TV!" he said in a panic.
I watched for a moment, ready for the Hollywood film to end.
“This is real…this is real,” I had to tell myself over and over as I sat in our tiny apartment with my new born baby.
I felt grateful for my safety, but completely helpless at the same time.
My husband came home, and we sat and watched the rescue efforts on our television. Though all efforts were noble, perhaps the one which touched me the most was that of an ordinary man.
He was asleep when his wife called and left this message on the answering machine:
“Honey, a plane just hit our building! I love you!” she said in a panicked and sincere voice. “I just want you to know…I love you!”
As I looked at my television screen, I saw her husband. His face ached with a look of denial and determination to save his wife from the tower.
The camera crews followed him as he traveled with his homemade “equipment.”
He was on a mission to save his wife.
“She’s a fighter, I know she is. And I’m going to get her,” he said with determination.
Two days later, the same determined man, now broken and sullen, was interviewed once more.
“She’s gone…" was all he could say. “She’s gone…”
My heart ached as I wept for his loss.
And, as I watched the masses of broken rubble, I thought of my marriage. It felt like it was under all the rubble…but was it gone? Could it be saved?
I held my husband and began to see him differently.
I hadn’t lost him. I had a choice. I could save my marriage from the rubble or let it die.
The man on the screen didn’t have a choice. His wife was gone. His marriage was gone. And he was left to deal with it.
After watching his example, I felt a renewed determination to love my husband differently, to appreciate him, and to use all the “spiritual equipment" I had been given to save my marriage from the ruins.
9/11 allowed me to step back, love deeper, and appreciate the opportunity that I had to be married.
God Bless America.