Like many of you reading this, I still remember exactly where I was 10 years ago today. I was a wide-eyed, naive freshman at the University of Pennsylvania on my way to Astronomy 101 (don’t ask me why I took this class), eager to embark on a journey that I hoped would one day result in happiness, success, and security. Just two hours north of me, there were people in the Twin Towers who frankly could care less about these things. I’m sure many of them were like me once, wanting desperately to achieve the things this great country promised them. I’m sure they all had hopes and dreams and desires that they worked tirelessly to achieve. And yet, in that moment of transcendental truth, it seems that all of their lives suddenly became quite simple. In their final messages to loved ones, none of them mentioned wanting to visit Bora Bora one day or get married or finally buy that two-story house with a pool. In fact, most of them had few words to say at all except that they loved their families and wanted the best for them. It is in hearing such messages replayed over and over again on television that reminds us of how fleeting this life really is. We often work so hard investing in things that have zero eternal value. I will be the first to admit that so much of my life has been centered around creating the best possible situation for me. Sadly, it is only when I am confronted with an event as tragic as 9/11 that I realize how trivial my worldly pursuits really are. There is a line in one of my favorite worship songs that reads,“…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I think I’m just beginning to understand what this means.
As we take the day to remember and mourn the thousands of lives that were lost in this tragedy, I pray that we would also take a moment to reflect meaningfully upon our own lives. I’m assuming such reflection might lead many of us to repentance. I know it did for me.
My guess is that, whether the Lord takes me home tomorrow or in fifty years, something in me will wish I could have done more for the kingdom while here on Earth. All I can really hope and pray for is that I would fix my eyes on Jesus and run hard with my neck strained toward the things of eternity.