Labor Day Challenge – Day 6 – Pray
Welcome back to my Labor Day Challenge. I have almost made it a week, and I am still going strong. I even went to my parent’s house to visit with my sisters, and instead of being greeted with hugs and hellos, I was greeted with cookies and pizza. I resisted, and ended up cooking them a healthy breakfast the next morning. Like I’ve said from the beginning, I wanted this to challenge me and hopefully challenge others too.
As mentioned in my first post, I am trying to improve my life in several different areas: physically, mentally, professionally and spiritually. I want to challenge myself spiritually because I know it is important to stretch myself every day to become a better Christian man. I am not perfect, far from it actually, so I challenged myself to pray everyday. I am not setting a time limit to my prayers, it can be short prayer, or a long prayer, as long as it is a prayer.
I grew up in church, going every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and several times in-between. I went on mission trips, drama tours, and worked in the community. It was a staple of my life that everything revolved around, and the man I am today was formed in church during my youth. I am thankful for M1A and strong Christian influences in my life, such as Eric Smith, Pastor Rose, and especially my parents. I still have the foundation gained from my younger days, but I do not have the passion I once had in my life. Therefore, I will challenge myself to pray everyday. To do more, to gain a habit. I know this is a valuable one, a Labor Day Challenge worth implementing in my life.
Today I prayed for everyone who experienced 9/11. I remember that day so well, and it is as vivid in my life now as it was that day. I was asleep in my dorm room in SE Loeser at NSU, and my roommate, Cousin Kyle and I, received several phone calls after the first tower was hit. Slade Cochrane called Cousin Kyle and told him he needed to wake up and turn on the TV. Kyle said OK and then fell back asleep. Ryan Fenska called my phone and told me to wake up and turn on the TV. I said OK and then fell back asleep (we were in college, 8:45 was early!). Fenska fortunately called back, because he knew me well and knew I went back asleep, and Kyle and I finally turned on the TV to watch the news.
At first, I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. I knew it was bad, but I was surprised a plane hadn’t flown into a high rise building before. I mean, planes fly high and those buildings were high, so I figured it was just a fluke. Then the second plane hit. Kyle and I sat there, jaws open, watching the television. The news kept coming in: The Pentagon had been hit, another plane had been hijacked and crashed on the way to DC. We watched as the towers fell, and I knew that so many people had died. I was sad, I was mad, and I was confused. I didn’t know why we could let this happen.
I was a freshmen on 9/11, which means I actually went to all of my classes. I was very glad to go to my first class, Political Science, as Dr. Sharpe was able to explain to our PLC class what actually was behind the attacks. I remember walking out of Seminary Hall with Kristen Schell and seeing a girl run down the steps screaming and crying. She had a relative in the World Trade Centers and was somehow just finding out about the plane crashes. We certainly said a prayer for her that day.
I remember walking around campus and calling all of my relatives to discuss the days events (an Eller trait). My grandparents had just recently came back from NYC and had toured the World Trade Towers. Ma was able to tell me how big the buildings actually were and how massive the destruction must have been. I called my parents and my sisters and told them that I loved them.
After lunch and as I was driving to my next class, Cousin Kyle called me and told me I had better fill up my truck with gas. He said that the US was going to run out of gas, and Tahlequah was going to run out. Kyle told me that gas was going to go up to as much as $3 or $4 a gallon. I assured him that I would push my truck to China before I ever put that expensive gas in my truck. (Little did I know it would one day become the norm) My class was a Zoology Lab field day across from Clear Creek, and as I pulled past the Clear Creek gas station, I saw Kyle in line for gas, as well as about 200 other cars and trucks. They were lined up at each pump and down the street and around the corner. Traffic was stalled in several directions because people were trying to get gas. I later found out that most of the gas stations in Tahlequah did exhaust their gas supply as the townspeople felt it necessary to fill up.
I don’t remember much more from that day, and I couldn’t tell you what I did later that night. I do know that I watched hours and hours of coverage of 9/11, and I was enthralled and devastated as the news continued. We eventually went back to life as we knew it, and as a college student in Oklahoma, I was hardly effected by the new “post-9/11” America. I did not fly, I did not live in a populated area, and I did not serve in the military. It was uncertain times as my best friend Thomas Sterling and several of my friends were called to Iraq. I will always appreciate their service and know they are greater men than me.
In April 2004 I was able to go to NYC and see the 9/11 site. I was amazed by NYC, where all the buildings went straight up. It was more massive than I could have even dreamed, yet as I walked up to the World Trade Center towers had been, I had to look down at the holes in the ground. It was the only spot in Manhattan where there was no buildings, no skyscrapers. They were still cleaning up the damage that had been done nearly three years prior.
I say a prayer for those people who died on 9/11. I say a prayer for those who lost a loved one. I say a prayer for those who lived in NYC and will forever be changed. I say a prayer for the US people. I say a prayer hoping that I will never forget. This is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.