Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Around This Time Ten Years Ago

Tuesday, September 11, 2001. 

Can you remember what you were doing this morning? This question has been asked a lot recently. For me, it was my first dose of American Tragedy. It was my first time to see America come together in a powerful way. It was my first time to have my faith truly tested. 

Rewind to Friday, September 7, 2001. I am in eighth grade. After complaining to my mom for a week or two about a small lump that had popped up on my left arm, I finally made it to the doctor. Immediately, the doctor sends me to a specialist who immediately schedules me for surgery September 11, 2001 at 11:00a.m. 

I distinctly remember that morning. I was terrified. I barely slept the night before. I had no idea what was the matter with my arm. My step dad and I had planned our schedule. We would drop my little brother off at school and then run by my intermediate school to pick up the school work. As we were dropping off my brother, someone came on the radio announcing that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. We assumed that it was an accident and went about our schedule. By the time we got home, the world was in complete chaos. 

As I was lying in the pre-op room, with needles in my arm, I watched the footage in wonder and confusion. The second tower had just been hit. This was clearly no accident. Every television in the outpatient center was on watching the coverage, trying to grasp what on earth was happening. Who would want to harm America? Was the world going to have completely changed by the time I got out of surgery?

My surgery took much longer than expected. The doctor had tears in his eyes as he let my parents know they had performed a live biopsy which returned positive for sarcoma. I had cancer. The world was crumbling down around us, and I just had a cancerous tumor removed from my left bicep. A cancer that could kill me within the year.

The next four days I prepared for the worst. My parents had my godmother, who was a school counselor, sit me down and explain the situation. I quickly began to research what I was about to encounter, all the while sticking close to the television to watch America come together in a time of crisis. My parents contacted everyone in my church, family and friends around the country. Everyone was praying for me. I couldn't have been more blessed. 

I don't remember crying. I do remember being hopeful. My faith was truly tested during this time. I had the option to fall into a state of hopeless despair or to completely trust that the Lord was in control.  The frozen biopsy came back four days later. The tumor was benign (All praise be to Jesus). It had been caused by Cat Scratch Fever. The Lord had truly performed a miracle in the midst of sheer terror and vulnerability. 

This miracle changed my life. Plain and Simple. As the world was uncertain, I couldn't help but realize that God had a bigger plan in mind. Through tragedy, He brought people closer to Him. The lost were found, the weak became strong. People across the United States were vigorously praying for me all the while praying for the victims of this tragic act. I could not help but praise His name. Jeremiah 29:11 became real to me. The Lord has a purpose for me, for our nation. We are here for a reason. 

Now, whenever I am discouraged and downtrodden, I look at the scar on my left arm and remember all the Lord has done for me. He is good. He is powerful. Without Him, I wouldn't be here. So, I leave you with Psalm 146. What Joy, What Peace we have in the Lord's name. 

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