My post for 9/11 was about my experience of that day in 2001.
Now let me tell you about my experience of that day 10 years later, for it is a tale worth telling.
Our pastor started our church service this morning with a few words of remembrance, etc. Out of the blue -- to me -- he asked my Tim to pray for our armed forces. Right after that, the music team (including me) got up to lead worship.
About the second of the four songs, I noticed that Number 7's face -- down in the congregation -- was red and it looked as though he was upset. During the music, I glanced over a time or two, saw him leave the room and come back again, and saw his father cradle our boy's head in his shoulder. Somehow, though, I wasn't losing my focus (thank you, God!). But I was somewhat concerned.
In the fourth song, I suddenly saw Tim and Number 7 walking up toward us at the front of the room. Tim motioned me to stop. Musician that I am, I made him wait until I'd finished the line we were on, and then we all came to a halt. I watched, not alarmed, but wondering.
Number 7 turned toward me and my concern was all for him at that moment. I hugged him hard and then listened in utter amazement as my strong, stoic husband announced, in a voice cracked with emotion, that our second son had just touched down on American soil after a year of deployment in Iraq.
And then we all sobbed. And cheered. And our wonderful church family sobbed and cheered along with us.
During the sermon, the pastor let us in on an important God-moment of the day -- he usually asks our sound-guy (my beloved Sammy) to pray for the armed forces whenever that is appropriate or desired as something special in our church service. This morning, our pastor felt that Sammy was not the right choice for today, and when he (our pastor) walked past Tim in the outer room, he felt God saying, "That's the one." So he asked Tim. And just about the time Tim sat down after praying, he received the text from our son that he was on U.S. soil.
We all shed tears of great happiness on a day of such sad remembrance. The irony was not lost on us -- our boy came home safe and alive on a day when so many lost their lives in the years since 9/1/2001.
We do not forget those who will never come home again. But today we are grinning from ear to ear and we are so very, very grateful for God's mercy.