Thursday, September 8, 2011

Choosing Light

Where were you on the morning of Sept 11, 2001? Do you remember?

I remember. For most of us, that moment will be permanently imprinted in memory: the moment we discovered that America had been betrayed. What did the betrayal feel like to you? Was it personal? Did you feel connected or detached? Were you angry, confused, frightened, sad, depressed, or all of the above?

A friend of mine who works in the mental health field reports that anxiety became rampant in wake of 9/11. She says that anxiety was relatively rare in the days before the terrorist attack and became widespread in the days and years that followed.

Not everyone gave in to terror. Some shelved their worries in a hidden place and buried them for another day. Some chose indifference. Some hardened their hearts. Others turned to faith.

Many chose prayer. A nation that had largely abandoned prayer suddenly became very prayerful…for a time. In a gesture of hope, my neighborhood displayed luminaries. We lit candles, laid them on a bed of sand in a one room paper house, and placed them near the street. A silent glow of unity lit our street against the ugliness of the day, and the curtain of night and fear.

Things have changed since the day terror knocked on our front door. Security is the new game in town. War is our new neighbor. And for some, a new fear moved in to stay.
Is it a coincidence that ten years later our economy is close to ruin, taxes gnaw hungrily at our paychecks, beefy government fingers poke at every pie, and joblessness lives in the spare bedroom.

We voted for change, but not this change. We hoped for improvement. Government behaves badly, much like a chubby, spoiled, manipulative child. It stamps its feet and cries for its way. It bullies us and kicks us when we’re down.

When I was young, I thought the end of the world was around the next corner. This both thrilled and worried me, for I knew that it would be a great and simultaneously terrible day. Would I grow old enough to finish school? To marry? To be a mother? What kind of world would I introduce my children to?

As a young mother, I stewed about wars and rumors of wars. I wrinkled my forehead over earthquakes in diverse places. I watched for the moon to turn to blood. When I could afford to, I stored food and water and wheat. Lots of wheat. I stored fabric and flashlights. I stored batteries, and candles, and clothes.

I once had a depression coat, a walking to Missouri coat, just in case. It was ugly as sin, but it was sturdy and warm. I knew I would never wear it, unless there was a crisis, yet I clung to it like hope. I knew that it would keep me warm against a dark and sinister nameless storm.

The coat is gone, but I still store food, and also hope, for I have learned that storms are a part of life. The thunder and lightning may frighten me, but I have control. I can choose peace. I can choose gratitude. I can choose faith. The most dangerous storm is the one that rages in my mind. Shall I choose fear or faith? Shall I choose chaos or stillness?

I have learned that most storms pass and that if we are prepared we shall not fear. I have learned that the only true safety lies inside my heart, the hand of my neighbor, the touch of a friend. I have learned that peace lies not in absolute safety but in trust and in my bucket of faith. I have learned to cling to my family, to strengthen my friends, and to share that bucket of faith with those in need.

There are more earthquakes now, and they have moved closer. The voices of war grow louder. Peace is not for sale, but it is abundant even in the growing chaos. Would you like a drink from my bucket of faith? Here, take my hand.

Abundance is mine. Peace, joy, and trust are abundant for those who know where to look.

America has a wonderful way of reinventing itself. We still have a lot going for us. We have a lot to be thankful for. We can make a difference. Be part of the solution. Believe it or not, whining is not a solution. Become the change you long for.

Gather your family. Gather your stores. Gather your courage. Believe. Hope. Trust. Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.

9/11/2011. It’s a perfect day for finding peace. Light a candle of faith in your heart and feel the glow of peace. Hold it out against the darkness surrounding you. Refuse to give in to darkness. Choose light. Choose gratitude. Choose abundance.

Count your blessings. Rejoice in abundance. Share your gifts. Strengthen your faith.

The choice is yours.

Linda Garner

1 comment: