It's been somewhat of a theme with me this year. . . purposing to remember God's faithfulness in the past so I can trust Him for today. And the future.
This is at the forefront of my mind TODAY, more than most, because 16 years ago something terrible and horrible happened here that, as a city and a nation, we have purposed never to forget.
I was sick that morning. The "good" kind of sick (if there is such a thing), because we were expecting our firstborn. We had been married a few months. Living in our little rent house. It was Spring, we were enjoying life together (except for the non-stop vomiting on my part) and our hopes for the future were SO bright. Newlyweds. 21 years old. Expecting my first baby.
The BOOM shook our little house. In that split second I would have sworn something had happened to OUR house. The noise was so close and loud that I could feel it. I had the morning news on and within minutes I watched footage from a news helicopter as it approached downtown and a cloud of smoke.
As the camera got closer and closer to the scene, a horror unfolded before my eyes. I grabbed the phone and called my mom, "TURN ON THE TV. NOW." Then hung up to watch the first images of a building severed in two. Roof top hanging over a jagged edge. A "doll house" view of the middle of the Murrah building. A cavernous space where walls, floors, and street had been only moments before.
It was the kind of destruction that should have been a movie set. But it was real. Only in the hours to come would we realize HOW real. 168 lost. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, friends. None of them knew that day would be the end of their life here on earth. Some of them were children.
In my little serene newlywed life, nothing changed in the practical sense. My family was safe. Only "friends of friends" touched personally by the devastating loss.
But then again, nothing was ever the same.
I had been in that building two months earlier to change my social security card to my married name. Most of us who live here had been in that building many times, for many reasons, and could have easily been there that day.
Our city responded in an amazing way. People running TO help instead of AWAY from the smoke and rubble. Improvised memorials, gifts, prayers. We saw the best of human kindness acted out in front of us.
16 years later, I have a tall, handsome, firstborn SON. Getting ready for his driver's permit next month. Finishing up his Freshman year of highschool. Looking forward to his third mission trip this Summer to Mexico.
16 years later, I am training to run this for the second time. The "half", anyway. I'm proud of my brother, who decided 11 years ago that our city should remember EVERY year - by founding a marathon to raise money for the Memorial and to remember those who lost their lives that day. My brothers have run it all 10 years. My parents have run it many times, as well. This race has been the largest contributor to the cost of operating the Memorial which is a private organization, not a government funded sight.
So today? I remember. I remember where I was. What my life was like at that moment. And some things that were forever changed.
Today I pray for our nation. Our city. Our government leaders.
Today, especially. . . I pray for those who are still grieving the loss of their loved ones.
And, of course, if you want to join us in "Running to Remember"? We'd love to have you! (smile)