One of the most poignant sights to me is the American Flag flying at half-staff. In our town, there is an enormous flag that has been a landmark here for many years. As I was driving home today, there it was, in all of it's glory, sadly hanging at half-staff.
Immediately, I was brought back to eight years ago - 9/11. Like many people, I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I first heard of the terrorist attacks on our nation. At that time, I was about to get married with our wedding in little over a month. I recently quit my job and was preparing to move to Washington D.C. where my fiance, now husband, had recently accepted a new job.
When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, I was completely unaware. Oddly enough, I was watching the movie High Society with Grace Kelly. The phone rings and my mom tells me of the attacks. Then, we realize that a plane hit the Pentagon, suddenly making everything so much closer to home.
My fiance was not just working in D.C. He was on Capitol Hill. Immediately, I called his office and was able to get in touch with him. He knew of the attack and planned to wait things out in his office. As we were on the phone and watching events unfold on television, a security guard came to his door and stated that all employees were to evacuate the building immediately. He and his colleagues left the building, with no where to go, and no plan. I can't remember if we knew it at the time, but a fourth plane was heading their direction.
At home, the phone began to ring off of the hook. At first, I assumed people were calling to check on my sweetheart. Then, I realized, they were checking on both of us since I was scheduled to be in D.C. and fly back that morning. But, my plans were derailed at the last minute and I ended up staying home.
A few days earlier, I had been in a car wreck. Not just any car wreck, but a hit and run. I was stopped preparing to turn left when I was rear-ended by a pick-up truck. He hit me pretty hard and so I was disoriented for a few minutes. The driver motioned for me to turn into a parking lot, but for some reason, I turned left onto a residential street, turned around and went back to the parking lot. In the meantime, the driver left the scene.
I was livid to say it politely. I waited just in case he happened to return and then did what any smart girl would do, I called my Mama! She came and we waited for the police to file a report. We had just had a wedding shower and my car trunk was full of china. My heart sunk when I looked at the smashed rear-end of my car and knew that all of our beautiful plates had been ruined. We opened the trunk and the first of several God moments occurred - every piece was perfectly intact!
With all of the wedding planning, a few aches and pains from the wreck, and facing putting my car in the shop - we decided that I wouldn't make the trip to D.C. Rather, my fiance would come home for a visit and that was that. I was so angry at the driver. Not only had he messed up my car, potentially destroyed all of my beautiful Wedgewood china, he now had screwed up my plans to visit D.C. After all, we had so much to do - find an apartment, look for a job for me, and finalize plans for the wedding. I thought - what a jerk!
My sweetheart came home and we had a great visit. He flew back on the red eye and got back safely in the wee hours of September 11th. As the events of that terrible day unfolded, I realized that God had been watching out for me and used the accident as a blessing. I wasn't scheduled to be on one of the tragic flights, but my flight would have put me taking off and in the air during the attacks. If you remember, air traffic was suspended for some days after 9/11, with flights being detoured all over the nation. Suddenly, a guy who inconvenienced me with a hit-and-run car accident had prevented me from flying home on the morning of September 11th. My jerk was now an angel.
A few months back I picked up Billy Graham's book, Angels: God's Secret Agents. It's a fascinating read and I couldn't help but think about my experience. Do I know if an angel intervened for me? I have no idea. What I do know is that I am loved by a God who has a perfect plan for me, for all of us, even when things seem like an incredible mess. And, goodness knows, this girl can use all the grace and mercy she can get :)
And we know that in all things, God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28