Friday, September 11, 2009

In Remembrance

I painted this after 9-11. It's called, "The First Tower." I was going to do one tower as a figure of a woman and one tower as a figure of a man. I never did get around to doing the 2nd tower. Perhaps that's because I felt I said it already. Part of the reason I wanted to paint the towers as figures was that I wanted us to remember this day was about human beings, flesh and blood. It was someones daddy, husband, wife, mommy, sister, friend, child out there in that moment. I painted it with a palette knife as I felt the sharp thick paint lent itself to the emotion and "mess" of that horrific day.
I know, if your like me, that you will always remember 9-11-01. It's much like the day JFK was shot. Or so I've been told. My parents can tell you where they were, what they were doing and how the news was taken. I can tell you where I was, what I was doing and how the news was sinking into my heart on 9-11. I remember just feeling so helpless. What could any of us do in the face of such evil? A line spoken by King Theoden to Aragorn in the fitting titled work, "The Two Towers," by Tolkien. His answer to that moment was to face evil with great courage, "Fell deeds awake, now for wrath, now for ruin and the red dawn!" as Theoden rides out to meet the enemy face to face. There were many on that day who did just that. Going into the open mouth of such hate. I was reminded of a statement made by a Jewish friend who's mother had survived the holocaust. He said, "In the greatest evils of history you will always find the greatest courage awakened." We saw that too.
If you were like me you sat and watched this evil and courage take place on your t.v. set. Some moments in awe and some in grief. Between the glass and wires that made those images on my t.v. I felt a corner of reality had ripped open letting in all the darkness and pain. My heart hurt.
During that day I found myself in prayer over and over again. Asking God, talking to Him and even crying with Him. I was reminded of the great prophets as they too wept over their people. It came to my country this time, my people, my time in history. Perhaps the greatest lesson for me was my lack of compassion. The fact it took something so horrific before I literally wept for my own people in their painful deaths. Oh, that God would make us so soft again! Wash us from the walls of our politics and make us see with real eyes!
The reality, that for a moment was as clear as the blue sky that day, was how real evil was and how my faith had to stand as hard and strong in the face of that day. I believe the words of the disciples when they said, "increase our faith Lord." I too, needed that increase. I saw for a moment what the world looks like without hope and without eternal life. Terror and fear with rage and anger.
I think it became a choice just like in all the days after that to believe God is here. He loves us and wants us to know Him. In Psalm 91 it talks about a watchman on a tower looking out over a city for danger coming to take it. The Psalmist writes, "He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." That secret place can't be seen on t.v. or with our human eyes. But if there is a shadow then there is something real there. Something greater than ourselves. I choose to live in the shadow, the secret place. I can't make you believe that. You have to believe it for yourself. But 9-11 ripped the veil away for a moment. He is standing right here with us. Stronger than any tower or evil thought.
God bless America and keep us close to His heart.

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