From September 2011

If I had had a blog back in 2001, I am sure that the above picture, or a version of it, would’ve made it to the blog. All I’ve been thinking about is how this terrorist attack has changed our society. Honestly, I think about what happened on 9/11 multiple times during the year. I don’t know why- I might be driving somewhere and it pop in my head. It is kind of like Katrina.

Anyway, all day I’ve reading about where my friends were when they found out. They have such interesting stories. Mine is not so interesting but, very me. I was asleep. I was in my first semester of seminary and didn’t have any early classes. I woke up a little after 9am (CST) so that I could get a shower and meet Travis for chapel- we’d just started dating about a week or so before. I am pretty horrible at remembering those “relationship milestones” other than my wedding date and that when he proposed in June 2002, he was standing by a trash can on the beach.

Back to the story… so I got my shower and went to chapel. The dorm I was living in didn’t have cable in the dorm rooms and this was before high speed so I rarely got online in my room and even more rarely turned our rabbit-eared TV on. When I arrived in chapel I remember thinking that we must’ve had some spectacular chapel speaker lined up because the place was packed out. HA! I found Travis and he told me what happened and then Dr. Kelley got up and said that classes were being canceled for the rest of the day. After chapel, we ate lunch and then headed to the lakefront and sat on a park bench looking out onto Lake Ponchatrain. I don’t remember what we talked about or how long we were there. I do remember a man in a speedo walking down the concrete steps into the lake and swimming around which I thought was gross- the speedo part and the lake water part.

That is my “where were you” story.

How has it affected me- I am more cognizant of visually dressed Muslim women. I know that might sound silly but it is true. I also find myself checking out the other passengers whenever I fly. (small aside- I never flew in an airplane until May 2008 so I don’t know how much security has changed there.)

Back to the visually dressed Muslim women- when I see a woman wearing one of those head wraps, I always wonder if they are ashamed to be so easily categorized as a militant muslim extremest. I know that the extremism exists but I also know their are Muslims who live in peace. I really doubt the lady that works at our Target is one- all of my interactions have been incredibly nice, polite, and friendly. Obviously, we don’t agree on spiritual matters but we do agree that we are each of worth- if just on the surface level… I need assistance finding something and she needs me to buy something to help her job security. Crude example, but still…

I try SO HARD not to be prejudiced against people “different” from me- that is just how I was raised. I played with black kids and white kids. I played with Catholics and Protestants. A Jewish friend was my date to a high school dance. I sat in classes with a few aethiests in high school. Heck, I had an agnostic professor complete one of my recommendation forms for seminary! I love them because God loves them- not because we agree. I try not to stereotype because I DESPISE being stereotyped when someone find out I am Southern Baptist (or maybe I am just the only one who doesn’t really like fried chicken? HA!) Regardless, my ability to not stereotype is thrown out the window when I see the Muslim women in the head veil.

That is what this post is about. The attacks of September 11, 2001 stripped me of my ability to easily love, as unconditionally as a child would, regardless of backgrounds. I always have to prod myself into remembering that God created the lady in Target and that my stereotyping her as a militant Muslim who is going to blow up the local Target is just WRONG. It’s not going to happen. Therefore, I just need to keep being nice and asking where random items are. She already knows I am always searching for gluten free stuff anyway and that makes me smile.

Thanks for reading my somewhat random, potentially in coherent post. However, that is how I feel. All day, the words to the Alan Jackson song he wrote about 9/11 have been running through my head. They were doing that even before church and the slideshow that was shown during our worship service. This is the part I keep thinking of…

“I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man.
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell you
the difference in Iraq and Iran.
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
and I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
But the greatest is LOVE.”

That is what living on this side of 9/11 is teaching me- LOVE. How much everyone needs love, regardless of their background. It is something I now struggle with daily- or at least every time I visit Target. 🙂