“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will note leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
I didn’t plan to write today. The square on my calendar is full from morning till late evening. The contractor is here to fix several things in the house. Meetings begin at 9:30, then lunch with a friend at noon, more meetings and then church council this evening. Maybe in between it all I will be able enjoy a bit of the beautiful sunny, crisp day.
A day just like 17 years ago…
It doesn’t seem possible it’s been seventeen years. Our oldest granddaughter wasn’t a year old yet. The other two weren’t even, as Gia says, “twinkles in mom’s eye.” Cancer hadn’t changed my world.
The title of this blog isn’t original. Google has several other blogs with the same title. They all have a similar theme–9/11 pilots who were supposed to fly on that bright sunny Tuesday.
Sequence Failed Continuity is air traffic speak for a flight that never reached its destination.
It appeared beside four flights that fateful day.
American Airlines pilot Steve Scheibner was originally scheduled as co-pilot on Flight 11 from Boston to LAX on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Late on Monday, September 10, Scheibner was scratched for Tom McGuinness who was a senior pilot. (You can read about Schreibner’s story on the other blogs with the same title as this one or view the short film his oldest son posted on YouTube called “In My Seat.”)
In the years since 9/11 we’ve focused on those who lost their lives and the families who lost loved ones. It is totally appropriate, in fact an obligation for us to never forget those people. The reports are that even more, nearly as many as were killed in the original attacks, have died due to illness from the massive quantity of asbestos that filled the air for weeks after the Twin Towers fell.
The stories of the heroes and those who were spared that day were popular in the weeks and months after the tragedy.
How many of us still remember them? The “lucky ones” who were supposed to be on a flight but didn’t make it? The business man who got stuck in traffic and was late to a meeting at the World Trade Center? The mom whose child was sick and couldn’t go to preschool in the Towers?
Pilot Scheibner says he and his wife and their eight children couldn’t “go back to normal life” after that day.
Any of us who have experienced tragedy or a life-changing event know this. Those experiences cause us to change our outlook on life–sometimes momentarily, sometimes for the rest of our days.
Why am I here? What is God’s purpose for me? How am I going to use this for good?
Every person who’s last earthly day was September 11, 2001 had plans. Plans for the day, plans for the week ahead. Plans for their families and their lives. And probably many of them, like us had a lot of “someday” plans. Someday I’ll read those books on my night stand. Someday I’ll call my friend from college who’s going through a divorce to see how she’s doing. Someday I’ll make time to go to church.
After 9/11, Scheibner says he could no longer be a “someday saint”.
Divorces, diseases, and death can leave us bitter. Or we can choose to use our pain to help others make life better.
I’ve chosen the latter for the rest of my life. Survivors of any tragedy would tell you it’s the better choice–for others and for ourselves.
What things are on your “someday” list? What purpose for your life is God waiting to bless that you haven’t taken the time to notice? Whose life is less complete because you’ve put your calling on the back burner? When the number of your days are dwindling, will you look back and be thankful for heeding the purpose God created you for? Or will you, like those flights, be sequence failed continuity that never reached your destination?
Don’t wait for another 9/11 to find God’s calling and purpose for your life.
Heavenly Father, thank you that no matter happens in our world, Your promises to be with your children never fail. Help us Lord to feel an urgency in our hearts to share love with others who are hurting, to use the talents and opportunities you’ve given us to share the Good News of salvation through Jesus. Give us boldness to shine Your light brightly in our dark world. In Jesus name. Amen.