Public School stories: 9/11

My mother used to tell me that I have a Messiah complex and she could be right.  The first poster I bought for my classroom, where I was going to be the teacher, was the one that said, “Knowledge is power!”  I believed that in spite of the Bible saying “knowledge puffs up,” 1 Corinthians 8:1 and thought that if I could give my students the right knowledge I could give them a leg up out of their circumstances.  Only I was wrong.  God started showing me my error on 9/11.

I got to school that day and picked up my students for their pullout group just like every other day.  We walked past the library on the way to our room and a group of aides and teachers were standing around in the library watching the television.  I thought, “Wow, hope they don’t get caught!”  Eventually, we made it to our room.  I was just getting into the activity for the day when there was a knock on the door.  When I opened the door, there stood one of the aides who said, “You need to go to the library.”  I thought, “I can’t just leave my students.”  She must have read my mind because she said she would stay with my class but I was to go to the library right away.  So I did.

When got to the library there were some different teachers and professionals watching the television.  Someone said, “Come in and close the door.”  I stepped in and shut the door.  Someone else took me by the shoulders and drew me around to the screen on the set.  A plane flew into a skyscraper.  I thought, “What a terrible accident!  Why are we stuck on an accident?”  Just then, someone said, “Keep watching.”  Another plane flew into the other tower and it dawned on me, “This was not an accident.  This was deliberate.  Why?  Who?”  “Keep watching”.  I watched:  the crawl across the bottom of the screen, the talking heads, the images on repeat.  Thankfully the jumpers had not yet started and I wouldn’t learn about them until after school.  My principal gave instructions.  We were to carry on as normally as possible; not tell the students what was happening; be prepared for parents to come get their kids; just carry on.  Ok.  As I returned to my room and walked past the office I was told the district phone system had crashed due to so many calls.  “What am I supposed to do with that?” I thought and did not say.

I got back to my students and, of course the curious beings that they were wanted to know all about what was going on.  I have never been able to conceal anything behind my face so I’m sure I looked aghast.  I told them, “I can’t tell you, you have to wait for your parents to tell you”.  At that point, a parent showed up and all of the students wanted that parent to fill them in but I guess the parents had gotten the tight lip message by then, too.  The parent took her child and dashed away.  I restarted the class.

Another child’s parent came and I was down to three students.  “So, we are going to waste this lesson on three kids but, oh well,” I thought.  I stretched over the table, a handout in my hand for a student on the other side when I suddenly felt extremely vulnerable.  Or maybe just realized my true state of vulnerability:  if a bomb were to drop out of the sky at that moment, I had no way to protect myself.  “Oh well, the Air Force….uh no.  The Air Force had been unable to stop those planes from hitting the World Trade Center, how could they stop a bomb from falling on our school?”  The Lord stepped in at that moment, not speaking but reassuring all the same, “I’m the one to trust.”  “Thank you Lord Jesus, Your Word says You will never leave us or forsake us,” I prayed from Hebrews 13:5.  Reassured, He gave me strength to carry on for the rest of the day.


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