September 11th, Faking Sick

Today's post comes from Adrian, at Life Before the Bucket. He is a few years younger than me, but as you'll see below, he has a lot of talent, life experience, and faith to put into his writing. His has become one of my "daily" blogs, because he always makes me think. Enjoy his post, and make sure you give some comment love, and visit his blog.

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At one point or another, we've all been young. As in really, really young. Like 12 years old young. Right?

So we’ve all been there. You’re woken up early in the morning and you don’t want to move. One of your parents tells you that you have 20 minutes to get ready, and you roll over and groan. And then it hits you.

You know, my stomach is feeling a little weird. And I have this little… cough. And my head… don’t even get me started on that.

Your 12-year-old mind starts churning, and before you know it, you’ve concocted the perfect excuse to skip school today: you’re sick! And teachers and parents always say, “If you’re sick, we don’t want you to be at school!”


Perfect.

Somehow, someway, your parents fall for your plan, and you’re left alone for the day to live the “good life” – TV, snacks, and naps.

Now, I’m sure my mom knows that I did this a lot, because she’s a lot smarter than my 12-year-old self gave her credit for. However, what I don’t know that she realized was that she let me stay home on one of the most horrific days in American history.

Yupp. On September 11th, 2001, I stayed home “sick” from school.

I remember it vividly, even though I was very, very young. I slept in a little, though not very long, because, hey, I had an entire day free to myself! I grabbed some chocolate milk, read the note that my mom left me, and gave her a call like the note asked me to.

What I didn’t expect was her reaction: “Are you okay?!” “Have you been watching TV?!” “Did you see what happened?!”

All of a sudden, my 12-year-old mind was overloaded. I hadn’t discovered coffee yet, so I could only handle so much information before 12 PM. And so I started flipping through channels while my mom explained to me what was going on. She sounded very concerned, but I didn’t really understand what she was saying. I eventually got off of the phone with her and searched for a news channel to try and figure out what was going on.

And then it happened.

The second plane crashed into the Twin Towers.

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My innocent, unadulterated 12-year-old eyes witnessed the terror. The tragedy. The sorrow. Alone.

And yet, I still didn’t understand. And so, for the next 12 hours, I sat and listened and learned. I learned about these buildings known as the Twin Towers, or the World Trade Center. I learned that, apparently, they were very important and a lot of people worked in them. I received an on the spot education that my school never could have offered me that day.

And I think I experienced a little trauma myself. Like Adam and Eve, my eyes were opened, and I didn’t like it. I wanted to go back to sleep. To try again. To un-fake sick, so that maybe things would return to normal and all of these people wouldn’t have to die. I wanted a do-over, but it wasn’t happening.

That night, I’m sure my mom hugged me a little tighter and held me a little longer. I remember continuing to watch the tragedy unfold, and like most Americans at the time, I couldn’t get away from the TV. I wanted to know that things would get better. That someone had a solution. That this problem could be fixed.

And, as we all know, that answer never came. That fix didn’t arrive. Not that day, that week, or even that year. As a nation, we mourned, and as a 12-year-old boy who hadn’t yet hit puberty, I mourned the loss of my innocence. My eyes were opened, never to be shut again.

To this day, I live to heal the broken. I live to comfort the hurting. I live to mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice. Why? Because on that day, ten years ago, I witnessed tragedy beyond my comprehension. And to this day, I am processing that pain. And what I do understand is this:

I was alone that day. I had no one by my side. And that was the worst possible thing that could have happened. I would never wish that on anyone, let alone a child. And so I work to help, to heal, to hold those who are hurting, because nobody deserves to be alone in their pain. No one.

In light of this, and in light of the memorial that this week brings, remember those who are hurting. Comfort those who need a shoulder to cry on. Hold those who have no hope to hold on to. Be the change that my 12-year-old self wished could’ve happened that day, 10 years ago, on September 11th.

Question: What can you tangibly do today to help someone who you know that is hurting?

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