Prayer is answer to tragedy

What a difference 24 hours can make. On Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, at a little before 8 a.m., Central Standard Time, our fourth grandchild came into the world. Almost exactly 24 hours later, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, horrific acts of terrorism brought that world to the shadows of war.
The contrast in emotions I felt on these two days was almost too vast to comprehend.
On Monday, the hospital in Irving where my daughter and her husband were to become parents for the second time, was teaming with expectant and new parents. The nursery waiting rooms were full of family members and friends. We were among this group of happy folks, talking, laughing, introducing ourselves to one another as each of us waited for our own special news from the nursery.
It was the job of hubby and myself to take care of our two year old granddaughter, keeping her entertained and occupied while mommy and daddy saw to the business of bringing little brother into the world. At 7:48 a.m., the new baby was born, and shortly thereafter, our son-in-law came beaming down the hall to bring us the news. We quickly went to the nursery to get our first glimpse of the new arrival. A big boy – 9 pounds 6 ounces – he had his mother’s dark hair and skin, and his daddy?s long legs. He was also screaming his head off at the indignities being imposed upon him by various medical personnel during his first few minutes in the new world.
The rest of Monday was pretty much a happy blur, with the new mom back in her room while the newborn’s sister proudly sported a “I’m a BIG sister” t-shirt purchased by the equally proud grandparents in the hospital gift shop.
The next day, there were still congratulations and hugs aplenty in the waiting rooms, but sadness and disbelief also hung heavy in the air. The television sets, which previously had broadcast popular talk shows and soap operas, were now filled with grime scenes of the tragedy at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. And over it all was a feeling that what was being seen and heard was not really happening. It was more like a bad movie with surreal special effects.
“What a day to be born,” one new father sadly remarked while watching the news in the hospital lobby.
“I’m glad my son was born yesterday and not today,” another said. And others around him nodded in solemn agreement. For some reason, that small thing seemed important. No one could say exactly why.
I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of world these little ones were inheriting. How could anyone commit such horrible acts upon thousands of unsuspecting people? Where was the sense in the loss of so many lives? Where was God on that tragic day?
As my heart was heavy with these thoughts, my granddaughter took my hand and pulled me to the bassinet where her new brother lay sleeping. I looked at the innocent face of the baby and realized that God had not left that day. But just as my grandson’s birth was a reminder of His love and majesty so was Tuesday’s tragedy a reminder that none of us knows when our time on earth is complete. What we have today is only temporary; only His love is everlasting.
Yes, it is the Great Mystery, God’s Divine Plan, but we must continue our journey and fix our eyes “not on what is seen but what is unseen.” We have to believe, we have to have faith, and we have to remember that God has all of eternity to explain His ways.
And we must pray. To do otherwise would render us unable to face tomorrow.
9/10/02

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