A 09/11/01 Phone Call Ends in a Lesson on Giving Thanks

Just thinking, how surprise events and happenings tend to change our lives … and the change can be for the good or for the better. Yesterday was, as we all know, a remembrance day for our September 11, 2001 tragedy.

That day has a special meaning for me, as I will explain. Shortly after I got to work that ill-fated morning, my office phone rang, and I heard the voice of my wife’s sister-in-law asking me if I had seen the news; I had not. She had, and was well aware that our son happened to work on the 38th floor of Tower One. We knew that he would normally be there by that time. His chances of surviving would be slim.

Now I do not take such news easily. The suspense was downright painful. Calling was useless since all the telephones were down. Here is where the word “patience” comes to mind … and I’m not very good at that. But there is no alternative. After several hours of this suspense, we heard what to us was a miracle; the phone rang and our son was on the other line telling us he was okay.

It just so happened that because he had worked late the night before, he could come in later than normal the next morning, 9/11. He said that he was just getting off the subway and going into the building when he saw people running in panic out of the tower. So he turned around got away as soon as he could.

We could collectively breath a sigh of relief. But much more than that this horrifying event, and the close call has brought to us a deeper and abiding sense of thanksgiving. That experience has taught me to be thankful to God on a continual basis, and to love people as though we might never see them again, because that incident might have easily turned out the other way for our son, as it did for so many other dear people we never made it out of the inferno. Everyone was a “loved one” to someone. Let us love our neighbours as though they were our own.

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