She did what she could. Mark 14:8

“What to do?”

Like most Americans, I asked myself that question during the week after September 11, 2001. As I stared with disbelief at the images of Ground Zero on TV, my heart cried out with the need to do something, but what? What could I do that would make a difference?

It was not feasible to travel to New York City to cheer on the rescue workers, but it occurred to me that there were things I could do right here at home. I thought of the story in the Bible of the woman with the alabaster jar: she broke it, and anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume it contained. Jesus commended her, “She did what she could.” (Mark 14:8).

In the midst of desperate times, we may not be able to do great things, but let it be said that we did what we could.

My flag flew 24 hours/day to show my support for my country. My final thoughts of the day were prayers for our president, his advisers, and our military. I asked God to bless America and keep her safe from harm.

I wore a lapel pin of the stars-and-stripes. There was a sense of unity as I saw others in public, proudly wearing their colors, too. Without a word, when we looked at each other’s pins, it communicated, “We’re in this together.”

I gave bags of cans and bottles to a fundraising effort done by our local high school. Our teens wanted to contribute to the NYC Victims’ Fund. I wanted to encourage their sense of compassion and patriotism, and cheer, “Way to go!”

On a day off, I made a large pot of chicken soup. Carrots from my Dad’s garden seemed to add to its therapeutic value. I invited my pastor and his wife to dinner after church that Sunday. Their daughter was teaching overseas in a country near Afghanistan. I wanted to assure them of my prayers. With a bowl of homemade chicken soup, I wanted to say, “Everything will be okay.”

I brought leftover soup to my 90-year old Uncle Reino. He lived alone, but managed remarkably well, in spite of having lost a leg to cancer. He was widowed the year after my husband died; a special bond was forged out of our losses. We sat in his front porch and exchanged a few words of disbelief about that week’s events. Mainly, we just sat. I shared the ministry of presence with him. A container of soup and a brief visit told him, “I’m still here. I love you.”

I baked cookies to send in a care package to my daughters, Aimee and Molly, who lived downstate. On top of each box, I placed patriotic dishtowels I purchased on clearance after the Fourth of July. I intended to give them the towels the following year, but their message, “God bless America,” was needed then. The care packages were my way of saying, “I can’t be with you now, but I’m sending this hug through the mail.”

Aimee and her husband, Andy were just weeks into their new careers when the whole world changed. I sent a card of congratulations celebrating their new beginning. I wanted to assure them, “Life will go on. We’ll get through this.”

Molly was a senior in college, getting ready to launch out into life. To my Communications major, I conveyed this thought, “We may not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. Keep the faith.”

Two days after the terrorist attack, I was scheduled to present a workshop at a women’s retreat.  The retreat director asked if I would cover two keynote presentations as our speaker’s plane was grounded in California.

In our closing session, I reminded the women of the famous words of Winston Churchill. During the terrible bombing of London during WW II, he urged his countrymen to conduct themselves so that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth should last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

I prayed over the women before we left for home, “May the love and light of Jesus shine through us in the days ahead. As Christian women, may it be said that this was our finest hour. Amen”

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, our country is experiencing a prolonged financial crisis. We witness political bloodbaths every day on our networks. We are reminded of our nation’s vulnerability.

As Americans, most of us will not be privileged to do heroic feats in the line of duty for our country – our contributions will be rather ordinary. But as Christians, may this still be our finest hour: Pray for our president and for our military. Fly our flag proudly. Let us pursue peace amongst ourselves. Whether we offer a cup of cold water or a bowl of steaming chicken soup in the name of Jesus, let’s stick together. Let it be said that we did what we could to bring healing to our nation.

God bless America!

1 Comment

  1. Deana Campeau
    Oct 12, 2011

    Coming from a military family, I am always a bit nostalgic when Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July roll around. I remember the 21 gun salute at my brother, Clyde’s, funeral in Houston, Texas, it was sad, sad time for all of us. Clyde had sacrificed so much for his country, it was hard for me to believe he was gone at 47 years old. He never saw what happened to our country, and for that I am truly grateful. He saw enough in Viet Nam and Iran and so many places that he was stationed serving our beloved Country with his life.
    I didn’t do all that you did, but Renee called a couple of days after 9/11 happened and said, “Mom, my friend “…..” has never been to church, and they are having a service at the hospital for those lost on 9/11, would you come with us. I was so very happy. This girl has been in our lives since Renee was in High School, and very dear to us, to be able to sit with her and hold hands as the prayers were being said let me know that Jesus was able to work good out of something very evil.
    The war we fight every day is waged with principalities and powers, and sometimes so subtle that I don’t realize that is what is going on. When I read my Bible every day, I am reminded of that and that “God works together for good for them that are called according to His word.”
    Thank you Kathy for reminding me how each thing we do, if done for Jesus is a job, “well done.” More than anything I want to hear God say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
    Thank you my dear friend for always being a “Good and faithful servant.”

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