Every September 11th I see two little words stamped across social media and my tv screen…”never forget.” It’s highly unlikely that any of us will ever forget what we were doing that day or where we were at. It would be like telling a friend to never forget the passing of their loved one. Many of us use the words “never forget” along with a cluster of photographs or video clips showing the horrors of that day. We do not need to see the images of that day over and over again to remember the magnitude of that dreadful day. I do not need to see pictures of my mom in her last days or visit her grave daily to remember the devastation I felt on the day she died. It’s embedded within me. It’s an experience that shaped my life and who I am. Much like 9/11. I remember having a similar feeling of grief after 9/11 that resembled the feeling of sadness I felt when I found out my mom had terminal cancer. “Never Forget”, but Always Remember”…because there is a lot more to remember than to forget. Always remember…the feelings of despair that brought a nation to its knees,
when racial lines were shattered,
and police officers were seen as Heroes for knowingly sacrificing their lives,
when Congress came together as a united people who stood for the people,
And churches filled with people who once claimed they didn’t need God, but now In their brokenness reached out for hope.
A war was fought by men who watched their beloved land under attack. And A nation rebuilt their lives and built up a broken city under the umbrella of God’s redemptive love.
It is ok to forget the horror and move forward in healing. To look at the photos from that day will bring only a fleeting moment of sadness and terror. It will not change again a nation that has forgotten God in all Its healing. For 9/11 to have been more than just “a day of terror” a changing within the heart of a nation had to of happened. A changing of a heart that says we need the healing of Scripture that claims God as Lord. It’s ok to show pictures of a rebuilt city, a life renewed, a story of bravery that came out of the ashes of that day. God, and only God, can bring redemption to a day of despair. Only God can bring forth beauty from the ashes that engulfed us that day.
15 years ago, after working my way through the grief of losing my mom, I remember writing in my prayer journal… “please don’t let me forget what I’ve learned.” I was deathly afraid of moving forward forgetting what I had learned…having everything be for “not.” Because I wanted to be changed by God and not the event.
The reality is, you do move forward, you do forget, and you do heal. The key is allowing God to change you from the inside out in the midst of your grief and pain; and then moving forward with grace in what you have learned. Sometimes in our healing we drift away from lessons learned during our brokenness. Going back to pictures of that day may bring about a feeling, but it won’t bring about a life change. There’s so much going on in America that crushes the spirit….Christians seen as hateful, police officers seen as murderers, republicans seen as intolerant, democrats seen as liars, children being consumed by the weight of a fallen world. We look to God when we fall as a nation, and then abolish Him once we are standing on our own again. We throw out claims that He’s not good because He’s not seen as present in a world that seems lost. But yet, we aren’t present for Him until we desperately need him. Shame on us America for forgetting what we learned and remembering only the event…the grief that was caught in the images of that day.