I would guess most Americans remember the events in remarkable detail. The deep September blue of the sky, the freakish plumes of smoke from the towers, the confusion on the faces of everyone, from the President to the newscasters, to the crowds down below looking heavenward. The horror of the leapers, the anguished faces of those who fled the dust bowl sized clouds which chased them down Manhattan streets, and then the eerie quiet in NYC for long weeks after the attacks.
9/11. It was terrorism. It was war. It was bizarre watching it all unfold on our TV screens. It was mesmerizing, like witnessing a traffic accident. We could, on some level, all identify. We all knew this event would leave a scar. Burn itself into our memories. Like Kennedy’s assassination, the nation would never be the same.
There was a moment for me, when I felt my soul shift. It was when the Twin Towers tumbled down, all that power and strength and genius demolished in seconds. It was once royalty in the sky, and then primitive rubble on the ground. The ground must have shook. I know my soul did. It was such a graphic symbol of our complete lack of control, and the massive indifference of evil.
It was difficult to imagine all the bodies, lives, dreams, hopes, histories, pains, losses, failures, successes, and assorted bits of living, which spun out of control along with all of that sharp edged sizzling debris. There were so many faiths, the yearning for meaning, a longing to understand it all. At this one place in one moment of time, were thousands of folks representing thousands of years of belief, in traditions, rituals, myths, mysteries, and holy books. No two souls believing the exact same thing. Each faith represented still unique and individual.
I heard a man on TV express his hope that all the deceased had found Jesus before they died. This was my transforming moment. Even as a Christian Pastor, I knew my God would somehow manage to bring everyone home. The Grace of God would open the gates of Heaven for every soul in those towers, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, or Agnostic. All were and are God’s beloved children.
This thought helped free the Grace within me. It wiped away a good many fears and prejudices. It reminded me of the swarming love and forgiveness in which we live. My God has all eternity to transform the souls of the departed. I trust all will someday in some way be convinced of their heritage. They are all God’s beloved.
Two majestic towers came crashing to earth, a tragedy of great magnitude. It was an event of significant horror for all Americans. My faith came up to Grace that day. It embraced a Grace which makes no sense, a grace which offers those who have worked for minutes, the same wages as those who have labored long hours. This Grace is not reasonable. It is not fair. It is indefensible. It is, however, just. In the eyes of God we are all equal, cherished, adored, and beloved. In the end, we will all be brought home to the God of tender mercies.
Universal salvation dawned on me that day. It has changed my faith. More importantly, it has transformed my life. I am paying attention these days. Noticing how and when God is rearranging my ideas, priorities, and beliefs.
We are being transformed on a daily basis. It is simply hard to detect the shifts. Like erosion, or global warming, or slogging, or even love. Transformation is a slow steady process. Life moves. It is changing. It is always revealing the endless and infinite love God has for us all.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.