New York City Day Eight.
These are the day eight adventures of a group of clergy who went to NYC to uncover innovative ways to gather, worship, and live out faith in an ever changing world.
On our last full day we spent the morning touring the 9/11 Museum and visiting the memorials. We knew this would be a hard day but we also really wanted to spend time here. We weren't looking forward to it but we needed to take some time to remember and to grieve.
I walked in and immediately started crying. I remember that day as clearly as I remember other memorable happy moments in my life. It was a marker in the timeline of my life. Everything changed that day. Travel was different. The climate of world relations. And our collective grief united us for awhile. Everyone had a story from that day. Some were simple awareness of what was happening. Some were stories of friends or family in one of the locations. Some made it. Others didn't.
We relived all of it in the museum. We re-watched the news reports that we watched that day. We saw broken, mauled, charred support beams, rescue vehicles, and stairs. We heard voicemails of people calling home knowing it was probably the last message they could leave for their loved ones.
It was haunting. It was painful.
One thing I've learned about grief is that it is collective. When you grieve something new, you churn up old grief as well. So this time for us wasn't just grief from 9/11/2001, it was also grief from Covid - people we lost and opportunities we lost. Plus our own grief that comes as a part of living life in a broken world.
While we were in the museum we heard about "The Survivor Tree." Apparently there was one tree near the Twin Towers that survived. While everything around it crumbled to the grown, this tree remained not only alive but a symbol of hope.
The tree is pictured here with the Freedom Tower present through its limbs. It was a reminder that life goes on even 21 years later. And it reminded us that even the new grief we experienced is not the end...it doesn't define our story...it shapes it but our story is a story of life and hope and love. It was a perfect way to leave the site.
From there we went to lunch with the pastor from the church we visited the day before. He told us his story from 9/11 and then we did some dreaming about what's next for ministry in a post-covid world. We didn't have any epiphanies other than it will have both an in person component as well as a greater online presence.
After lunch we visited St. Patrick's Cathedral and the sculpture of Atlas across the street.
It was a full day. And one that we will be reflecting on for years to come. A day that reminded us for our need for a savior and our need to adhere to our task to fight against evil in whatever form it presents itself.
Until Everyone Hears,
P.S. - In case you want to read from the beginning of our trip, you can read about it here.
P.P.S. - Revelation 22:4 (NIV)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”