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Looking Up

Looking out WTC observation window

Looking out WTC observation window

(I originally wrote this 8 years ago)

I don’t remember exactly how old I was the first time my dad took me to see the World Trade Center “up close.” I couldn’t have been more than six or seven. My parents tell me I was only 3 or 4… I certainly look young in these pictures that they found. New York City was so big and so strange–fascinating and frightening at the same time–but my father’s firm grip on my tiny hand gave me the confidence to keep moving forward in this intimidating new world.

When we emerged from the subway station beneath the Twin Towers, my dad led me out to the plaza and turned to face one of the outside walls. “Look up,” he said. I looked, and the vertical lines of the buildings’ outer structure drew my gaze upwards, mouth gaping and head tilted back, until I nearly fell over backwards! It was so big, and I was so small, and somehow in that moment my perspective was forever changed.

Looking down from the WTC observation window

Looking down from the WTC observation window

Over the next 20+ years I visited the World Trade Center many times. Often, I had the privilege of bringing other first time visitors to that same spot where my father had first told me to “Look up.” It was an experience that never lost its power for me, even as an adult.

I was living in New York City during the 1993 Trade Center bombing, but never imagined that I’d live to see the horrific scene that unfolded on September 11th of 2001. I found my way to a television set just in time to watch the second tower collapse. Once again, I felt so very small and helpless… and in that moment I realized that my perspective and the perspective of an entire nation was forever changed.

Like many others, I’ve been struggling to grasp the reality and magnitude of these tragic events. I don’t have any profound answers… nor am I expecting any. I don’t understand it… I may never understand it. But as overwhelming and frightening as it is, I am still confident that my Heavenly Father has not loosened His grasp–and when I put myself in His hands, I can face anything in this intimidating new world.

Looking Up

Looking Up

We no longer have the striking architecture of the World Trade Center to draw our gaze upwards, but now more than ever we must “look up.” The pain and the loss are beyond description… but the strength of this nation is beyond estimation. So look up… and encourage others to do the same.

————————–————————–————–

It’s hard to believe that 8 years have passed now since 9/11/01. Every year since then on 9/11, my dad would send a copy of this post to everyone on his email list. So that makes today a little extra poignant for me… because my dad isn’t here to send out that message this year. He was a tower of strength to our family and we miss him very much. Just like the New York skyline will always seem incomplete to me without the towers, there’s a big empty spot in our family without my dad.

And yet… I can still hear him telling me: “Look up.”

2 Responses to “Looking Up”

  • Thanks for sending this out, Jenni. I saw it on my phone earlier and didn’t read it, thinking it was just a resend. Then I read it on my computer just now and saw the note at the end. Very touching – thanks for sharing … and for reminding us to look up.

  • Don Low says:

    And still meaningful and encouraging a year later.