Beauty from Ashes..

The year was 2001.

The date was September 11th.

The world? It was in a state of terror.

Me? I was 6. I don’t remember much. I would have just started 1st grade. I remember walking down the hallway to lunch and seeing the TV on in the fourth grade pod with video of the towers and the news cast playing. I didn’t understand, obviously.

Growing up, we tried to stay as far away from the “worldly” things as possible. So things like televisions fascinated me. Ask my best friend! So it would figure that seeing the TV would be my main memory. I think most of what I remember is from video or photos once I got older and passed it off as younger memories. I had the innocence of a child when it came to worldly things. I didn’t think about bad people hurting others and killing and hate.

But I still was too young to understand. I truly wish that I could have more fully understood what was happening at the time.

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Yesterday marked 15 years since that terrible historic event. Yesterday marked 15 years since a group of bad people thought it was okay to endanger and kill thousands of people. Yesterday marked 15 years since the world changed drastically.

Last night, we were invited over to friends house. We watched the movie ‘World Trade Center.’ It is a movie based on a true story about two men who get caught under the rubble when the first building collapsed. It goes through the misery of being trapped under all the debris and the fear of the unknown with their families waiting for news of them at home.

‘World Trae Center’ is not a movie I would typically watch.I do not exactly know why. Too much blood. Too loud. Too real…? It is a movie that everyone should watch. It is a movie that I watched before. You know what is the worst? Watching a movie that you have watched before and forgetting what happens at the end. That is the worst!

I cannot even begin to think how I would react if this would have been a friend or family member of mine. I think until you are in that position you don’t know.

SO I am not here to give a history lesson of September 11th. I am here to talk about love vs. hate. I am here to talk about love and hate and tragedy and how they all go together.

Let me start by defining each of those words. I know everyone knows what they mean… but I like definitions.

Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection

Hate: To dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest

Tragedy: A Lamentable, dreadful or fatal event or affair; disaster

So How are these things related?

September 11th, 2001 was a tragedy for not only America, but the world. In the movie last night, it showed live feeds from all over the world. People from all countries were horrified! Just like all of the countries in recent attacks on various places around the world, the rest of the world respected and prayed and mourned and loved. They showed America their love and support; they showed America that this was not just their battle, but the worlds.

I have learned that when chaos strikes, that is when people band together. When the planes crashed into those towers, the world was watching. I was reading an article and it said, “It is estimated that one-third of the world watched the attacks live and during the repeated broadcasts during the day.” The world was watching this terror happen! And then there were people who stood in complete fear as they watched their HOMETOWN (or HOME-CITY) crumble in front of them. Can you even imagine being a witness to the towers falling?!

Something about tragedy makes people band together with love and compassion. People from all over the country arrived in New York City within a couple of days to help clean up and search for missing people. The WHOLE country came together as one STRONG NATION to help.

So HATE caused the event. The event was a TRAGEDY. and LOVE healed the country and brought us together as one.

Sometimes I sit back and wonder about God. God is an amazing being. God is the creator of the world and all things. I sit back and wonder about what He is trying to teach us. Why does God let tragedies such as September 11th happen? Why would He let such terrible events happen? What is He is teaching us by letting us witness and live through these events?

In the past year, many terror attacks have come up. The world banded together in prayer and love. Last summer/fall, there was a time where I lived in fear. Fear struck my heart and wouldn’t let go. I prayed and prayed that God would release me from my fears. But my fears blinded me. I was so terrified to go anywhere. I had let the devil get to me. He got to me through the terror attacks of very bad people. and sadly, HE WAS WINNING! What the heck?! I was letting the devil win. I talked to my husband about it and I talked to my mom about it. Lowell always told me, “Babe, if God wants you to come Home, He is going to take you whether you are sitting in fear at home or out seeing the world and having fun.” Those might not have been the exact words, but similar to that! But somehow, I was letting the devil control my life instead of dropping to my knees and crying out to God.

Far too often, I find myself not crying out to God and thinking I can handle it or worse, letting Satan drag me down. On September 11th, 2001, the world was crying out to God. Crying out for helping. Crying out for answers and help. On September 11, 2001, people from near and far came together. In the movie, men from Wisconsin traveled to NYC to search for the missing. A ex-Marine comes out of retirement to search for the missing.

‘World Trade Center’ really made me start thinking about my life and how I reach out to help people. Or just reach out to people. How am I sharing Jesus? Would I have went to help if I was older at the time of the event? Would I be willing to give my life to save others? What can I do to share love with the world? The bible says to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2). Don’t let the world change you. Change the world. How can I transform the world? What can I do to transform the world?

Everyone has goals. One of my goals is to do something that changes someone’s life. Be a person who helps change the lives of the troubled. But how do I, as one person, start? The only way I know how. Be myself. To love people. To smile and laugh and show that I am truly at peace with myself and the world BECAUSE OF JESUS! At one point, I knew of this one person who didn’t like me because I was too happy all the time. I kinda laughed at that because of how dumb it was. I like to be happy and laugh. Being kind is one of the easiest things we as humans can do.

I have a challenge for you. Yes, you reading this! Next time you are in town, grocery shopping or browsing along in Kohl’s, SMILE at the people around you. Even if no one smiles back, just keeping smiling. Just keep smiling, just keep smiling. I tried smiling at everyone I came close to the other day at Target. It is so easy to smile. Too often, I hear my friends or family say that they avoid people in the store so they don’t have to talk to anyone. HOW can you show people Jesus if you are not interacting with them? You cannot! A simple smile can change someone’s day from bad to good.

God wants us to be happy and to spread our love for Him. “Lord, give me words to express to others how beautiful Your love for them is.”

They say that this school year, the current freshman, will learn about 9/11 as a historic event. In three years, every student in grade school will learning about 9/11 as an event that happened before they were born. It has been 15 years since that fateful day. 15 years since the world changed.

We may never know the answers to the questions above about why God lets things like this happen. That is the beauty of it. God is so amazing and when we put our complete trust in Him, He guides us to places unbelievable! He takes us to beautiful places and creates wonderful things from ashes. “Do not be jealous of the beauty you see in another person’s life when you never saw their ashes.”

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“He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning & peace for despair.” Isaiah 61:3

In December 2015, we went to NYC with my mom’s family. This was soon after the terror attacks in certain parts of the world and it was predicted that America would be next. We planned to go to Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers stood. So, naturally, for me, fear was strangling me. I was swimming in my own fears! I kept telling myself that if people thought something bad was going to happen, they wouldn’t let us go. So we went! and It was really fun! Below is a panoramic photograph taken at Ground Zero of the 9/11 memorial. The pools are placed where the two towers stood. In this place, 15 years ago, was complete chaos and rubble.Now, a beautiful memorial in its place, respecting the lives that were sacrificed  on that day.

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“Through blurred eyes we find the strength and courage to soar beyond the moment. We look to the future knowing we can never forget the past.” -9/11 Memorial, Williamston, South Carolina

The picture below is of the One World Trade Center. The picture is a little jacked because it was a panoramic and harder to take. The top of the building was so high up on the cloudy day we went that it was in the clouds. It was amazing to see but so BIG!

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One World Trade Center

The day was September 11th, 2001.

2,977 people died in three different locations.

19 men made a bad decision that changed the world.

20 people were pulled out of the rubble alive.

Hundreds of people came from all over America to help.

The world changed.

One nation stood together for a significant amount of time, praying, supporting, loving, and believing in one another. For a moment, race didn’t matter. Religion didn’t matter. Nationality didn’t matter. Being there for your fellow-man mattered! Being a friend.

How different do you think the world would be if we loved a little more and hated a little less? Would we have less crime and terror?

HOW WOULD YOUR LIFE BE DIFFERENT IF YOU LOVED MORE AND HATED LESS?

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What can you do to love more? How can you be the change? “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Always say ‘I love you’ because you never know what God has up His sleeve.

“He said ‘I did. I created YOU. If not us, then who? If not me and you. RIGHT NOW it’s time for us to do something.”

“You are not alone, if you are lonely.”

“Give thanks to THE LORD for His love never ends and all the people said Amen!”

 

xoxoxo

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