Memory is such an interesting phenomena. Sometimes I am amazed at the things I can forget. Just yesterday morning, I quickly did a travel report to capture my credit card charges at work. I remembered that after I coded my receipts, I stacked them in order according to the charges and paper-clipped them to the bill. I distinctly remembered that I had three receipts left over after I completed the report. I put them back in the same tattered envelope where I routinely keep my receipts. Using the same envelope and the same desk drawer in which to store the envelope simplifies my life. I routinely know where to look. I like it that way. It eliminates the need for guesswork.
Toward the end of the workday, my administrative assistant let me know I failed to include a needed receipt. I’m not sure how I missed it. I thought I’d been so careful. At any rate, I was confident one of the three receipts in my tattered envelope located in the desk drawer where I always keep them would supply the need.
I was startled when I open the desk drawer and the envelope was gone. I sat there for a moment attempting to remember what I did with the envelope. I remembered that I purposefully paper-clipped the three receipts together so I wouldn’t lose them. The envelope had to be on my desk. I thought I had put it in the drawer, but obviously not. So where was it? That was the $64,000 question, so to speak, although the credit card charge for gasoline was only $27.31.
I didn’t find the envelope on my desk. Was someone playing a joke on me? I ruled that out. No one would do that. For that matter, it wouldn’t be funny. You’re wondering if I opened the desk drawer where I always keep it again, aren’t you? If truth be told, I probably opened it at least three more times. I was stumped.
The long and short of it, “Sometimes I unpredictably do something entirely alien to what I normally am accustomed to doing. I subsequently found the tattered envelop in another desk drawer. It was a desk drawer in which I have nothing stored. I’m still puzzled by the change of venue.
Seeing today’s date pop up on my computer screen this morning brought up a memory I’ll never forget. I still get a sick sensation in the pit of my stomach with the very thought. I arrived at the Health and Human Services building in Austin around 9:45 a.m. for a meeting. I was standing in line to get my identification checked before I could actually enter beyond the lobby of the building. There was a television monitor on the desk. At some point, the person checking identities and issuing visitor permits stopped in his tracks. His eyes were fixed on the television screen. We all followed suit. Everyone in the line watched spellbound and horrified as we witnessed the televised crash of American Airlines Flight 11 into the North tower of the World Trade Center. In short order, three other passenger airlines were used in coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. In total, the attacks claimed the lives of 2,996 people (including the 19 hijackers) and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage. From that day to this, we have been a nation at war.
Isn’t it true, don’t we all have a list in our head of memories that we will never forget? I’ve got a list like that. I bet you do as well. Some things defy forgetting. In fact, may we never forget! To forget would potentially make us complacent.
I also remember the sense of solidarity and unity that Americans intuitively held for one another in the aftermath of the attack. Somehow we correctly interpreted the threat we faced as being of such magnitude that only by standing together in unison, with God’s help, could we overcome it.
I also remember the beautiful prayer that Max Lucado shared the following day. He expressed in word pictures what we were all thinking, but were not articulate enough to verbalize. His words were a fitting tribute to ask for God’s help and to honor those whose lives were taken.
All My Best
“Do It Again, Lord!
by Max Lucado • September 12
A prayer written by Max Lucado for America Prays, a national prayer vigil held Saturday, September 15, 2001. It seems fitting as we remember the anniversary of 9/11 to share it once again. Permission to copy is granted and encouraged.
We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a horrible dream.
But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.
There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)
We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn’t.
And so we come to you. We don’t ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don’t request it; we implore it. We know what you can do. We’ve read the accounts. We’ve pondered the stories and now we plead, Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.
Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children, too, Lord. Do it again.
And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.
Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced.
And by dusk, heaven’s sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.
But you did not waver, 0 Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.
We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what discussion could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.
And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.
Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.
And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world.
Do IT again, Lord. Do it again.
Through Christ, Amen”.
As written by Max Lucado for America Prays, a national prayer vigil held Saturday, September 15, 2001. Permission to copy is granted and encouraged.