One of the things people have been advised to do was to limit the amount of time they watched the news. This was hard--maybe even harder than it normally would be. The tone was set early for staying glued to the news. During the morning of the attacks, new things kept happening right in the middle of the coverage of the previous event. It created a fear--a terror--that if we turned away from the news we might miss something or be unprepared for what was happening.
The media has not helped matters at all. They clamor for updates and stories. PBS has already aired a documentary about Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian exile living in Afghanistan who has made his anti-American views and desires for our destruction widely known and who is believed to be behind all of this activity. CNN updates its Website with new coverage hourly, and I've seen a number of corrections of misinformation already. Newscasters on TV replay the video of the second plane "slamming into the World Trade Center" over and over. "All I see on TV is that plane, over and over," one of my friends wrote from her home in Israel. Terrorism is not just about the people killed or hurt. Terrorism is about shaking the very foundations of life as we know it--trust in the stability of the places where we live and work, trust in the availability of resources we need, and fear of repeated attacks. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us; but it is somehow easier to accept that fact when it is elusive, when we can live our lives knowing that "ordinary" things--health problems, car accidents, etc.--are the things that might claim our lives. Of course, we don't expect these things, but they are familiar to us and don't paralyze us with fear. The possibility of being killed instantly or trapped in a collapsing, burning building is not normal and is completely out of our control or comprehension.
I've managed to get my monitoring of news coverage down to a quick scan of Websites and a review of the morning or evening news each day. I suppose this is a relatively healthy approach to things. I am going to work at the church, choir practice, doctor's appointments, etc. I am preparing for a party on September 28. I am writing, still at work on the projects which will hopefully earn me a living. I am making plans to attend training for my third dog guide as if the idea of flying is a perfectly normal thing. But all of this happens against the background of current events. My writing is changing, reflecting the fear and the anguish I feel. As I prepare to fly to the training school in New Jersey, I wonder about new security procedures and the safety of flying into one of the airports where a hijacked flight originated.
When will this end? When will America be a safe place again? I don't know. I fear that we are headed into a very long world war. Afghanistan will not release Bin Laden to the United States. Do they really think that the fact that he is there and did not have a direct hand in these events makes him innocent? He despises America. He has built a large network of terrorists, and through his aides who are not kept from communicating with others he spreads his ideas. Pakistan originally supported the efforts of the United States to "rid the world of evil". But this is no longer the case, and the Pakistani people are vowing to attack America should Afghanistan be attacked. We are headed for a world war in its truest form. There will be no safe places.
And who are we to say that we can "rid the world of evil"? Ridding the world of terrorism is not just about punishing one man, even if he is ultimately responsible. It isn't even aboutpunishing a million men. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the world we live in will never be rid of terrorism. Not until we meet Jesus will we be safe from this kind of evil. This is simply part of the world we live in. How arrogant we are to think that we have any power over this!
I am quickly becoming tired of hearing the phrase, "God bless America!" Perhaps that makes me unpatriotic. But why should God bless America? "In God we trust" is shown on our currency. But itis not evident in our lives. God is in our lives on Sundays; but what about the rest of the week? Why should He bless America? So that we can continue to live in greed and ignore the pain of the rest of the world? God, bless America--and give us the compassion to use what You have given us to bless others!