Like most of you, I’ve been thinking about where I was ten years ago.
Ironically, I was in Africa. On Diani Beach, Kenya, to be exact. Diani Beach is on the outskirts of Mombasa.
Lucas and I were there for a two week vacation…one week of safari…
…and one week on the Indian Ocean.
I know…we were sufferin’.
It was during the Indian Ocean relax-on-the-beach-after-workin-hard-on-the-safari portion of our trip when 9/11 occurred. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Eastern Africa Time, when the towers were hit.
We were both sitting on our patio, enjoying a quiet afternoon by our lovely pool. Lucas went inside to turn on the news, simply because he always has to know what’s going on in the world. I remember being annoyed, wondering why he couldn’t just forget about the world for a few weeks, ignore the news, and enjoy being on vacation.
He called me inside where we proceeded to stare at the television screen for the next several hours. We could hardly move. And as the reports of more crashed airplanes came across the screen, we wondered if life in America was over as we knew it.
We were also beginning to get scared. We knew where we were…smack dab between Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam…where our US Embassies had been bombed just one year prior. And we were the only Americans at the resort.
Your mind will play tricks on you when you’re afraid…we just knew we were hearing extra noises at night that kept us awake. We were positive that we were seeing extra armed guards, roaming the resort during the day. We even started telling people we were from Canada, just to be on the safe side.
Canada? …like that would have done us a lot of good.
Clearly we weren’t thinking straight. (No offense to any of you Canadians out there!)
And I CERTAINLY did NOT want to get on an airplane four days later! I was praying for a boat to come and pick us up.
Alas, I had to get on the plane on Saturday, whether I wanted to or not. However, the airline upgraded our seats to first-class when they saw our American passports…they were trying to be kind and sympathetic. I was thankful…a 10 hour flight in first-class makes it so much more bearable than hanging out in coach. But don’t think for a second that I wasn’t eyeing every person on that plane, making sure they weren’t going to do anything covert with their dinner knife.
One nerve-wracking plane ride later, we landed back home in Germany (where we were living at the time), thankful to be back in the “safety” of home.
So what’s the point of my story?
It’s not that I was physically a world away from the disasters of 9/11. It’s that in every other way possible, I was a world away from where I am now.
Ten years ago was the first time I had seen stark poverty in Africa. It didn’t move me into action like it does now.
Ah, to be young, again. Sigh.
Ten years ago, it never occurred to me to save up my money for a missions trip or to give away. We spent all of our excess money on faraway vacations.
Ten years ago, I would never have fathomed that we had two sons who would be born in a few years, just hours from where we were.
Ten years ago, I wasn’t dreaming of the day we could move to Africa.
A lot’s changed in ten years.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25