Well, unless you've been hiding in a cave on the far side of the moon or something, you know all about the mission of SEAL Team 6 to to engage Osama bin Laden with "extreme prejudice". That's a fancy way to say they killed him. You probably know by now that his body was buried at sea and of course you know about all the "victory celebrations" that occurred last night in locations such as in front of the White House and at Ground Zero.
Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the successful attacks of September 11th, 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC.
I was in New York on the day of those attacks.
It was my first full day of classes at Union Theological Seminary.
It was my first full day of training to become a minister.
I had planned in this blogpost to tell you about the feelings I had that day and for a long time afterward, about what our chapel service was like on the day it happened, and what the worship service was like at The Riverside Church the Sunday following the attacks...
I had intended to try to describe to you what it was like volunteering near the perimeter of the restricted zone the first few evenings after the attacks, where people were holding candlelight vigils and had posted literally thousands of 8"x11" placards, hoping that some one might know the whereabouts of persons who went to work Tuesday morning and had never been seen again...
I had hoped to somehow relate to you what it was like to step into Ground Zero itself, one rainy night a week or so after the attacks, to work "The Pile", and know that I was helping, aiding, and assisting in one of the biggest rescue and recovery operations in history.
I wanted you to understand the energy, the anxiety, the awesomeness, and the horror...all rolled into one incredibly intense ball of emotion.
I wanted you to realize that for all the emotion, I felt very little of it, because there was so much to do...
I desired to share with you the sickening smell, the dust that still has left some faint stains on my red North Face rucksack, and the dreams I had for years (and still occasionally experience)...
I am standing on top of the North Tower. I am on the roof of the building, standing near the edge. It has already been hit and is burning terribly. Suddenly, it begins to collapse...
I wake up just before it hits the ground...
Out of breath, unable to speak, a little sweaty...and according to my dad who woke up one night to find me sitting on the sofa, silent, in the living room staring at the wall...with the "thousand yard stare" all over my face.
I'm over nearly all of that now.
But I went to sleep last night with a little bit of trepidation, worried that my dream might return in the still, quiet hours of the night, as so many feelings from that time nearly 10 years ago came back to haunt my heart as I watched the coverage of Bin Laden's death on CNN.
And yes, it was a beautiful blue sky that day in New York when the planes appeared, a day worth missing class over if it were later in the semester...
A day much like today in downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida.
I thought today would be a day to recall death, in all it's terrible ramifications...a day of remembrance of those who died nearly 10 years ago...a day to consider the death of the man who was held responsible for all those deaths.
But that is not how today has turned out at all.
As I write this blogpost, I am sitting in a hospital room with a woman I hardly know. She is homeless and 9 months pregnant. She is somewhat mentally challenged. She has no family in the area.
It appears she is going to give birth later this evening to a baby boy.
I brought her to the hospital from church and will be with her in the delivery room.
Today is a day of death...but it is also a day of life.
That is, if they don't send her home because she's not quite ready to give birth...when she doesn't have a home to go back to.
I'm about to meet with a social worker about the matter and if that avails nothing, then I have a "Plan B" in mind if I can get hold of a friend who is also involved with homeless ministry in St. Petersburg.
There was no room at the inn for Mary...but she gave birth to Jesus anyway.
Please pray for all those in the position of Mary and Jesus in this world we live in.
One way or another something good will come of this.
One way or another.
Life and death...death and life.