September 11th is an interesting day in our house. It is a day of mixed emotions. My husband worked at the World Trade Center when 9/11 occurred. I am speechless as I try and write up what that means in our house.
How do you celebrate the life that survived and mourn the lives that were lost?
People throw around catch phrases like “We will rise again,” “we will never forget,” “remember 9/11.” In our house, we will never forget and our lives will never be the same.
The following story took place one day after my husband had returned from a two-week vacation. After enjoying a two-week vacation, on Monday, September 10th, 2011 he returned to work and on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 the following occurred. Here is his story.
Wladimir’s 9/11 Story
It happened during my normal morning routines. Back then I faithfully awoke around five or six o’clock in the morning; got out devotional reading material, my Bible, and a commentary; then prayed and made it out for a thirty-minute door-to-door commute. That morning was just like any other morning, except that it wasn’t.
As I woke, I immediately felt a prompting say, “Go do your laundry.” I pulled the sheets off my bed and tossed them into my laundry pile. Thinking I had appeased the voice, I picked up my Bible to start my devotions.
The prompting came again, “Go do your laundry this morning.”
I responded back, “I don’t need to; there isn’t any emergency, and I still have clean underwear and clothing for today. Besides, I need to get through my Bible and meditation prayer time, and I can’t do both my devotions and laundry and still get to work on time.” I proceeded back into my prayer time, but for the only time in my life, I felt as if my prayers would not reach past the ceiling. They fell back down to the ground.
The prompting came again a third time, “Go do your laundry!”
I realized that the Lord was dead serious about me listening to Him, and He wanted me to do my laundry, change my routine, and delay going into the office. I got the memo, grabbed my laundry, and headed out of my apartment and around the corner to the laundromat. I made the treks back and forth from my apartment to the laundromat. Before I made my final trip the laundromat, I called into work and notified my co-worker (who sat three chairs from me), that I would be late to the office that morning.
As I took my clothes out of the dryer, the television in the laundromat displayed the news—Tower One of the World Trade Center had just gotten hit. I thought, “I work there, how odd; what does it mean? Do I have to work today? Do I have to work over time?” I walked home and turned on the TV, the unfolding news story was still ignorant of what was really happening. Then Tower Two was hit, and it was clear that something was wrong. I hurried and dialed back my co-worker to warn him to get out. The phone system at first dialed but no answer. Then I dialed again and still could not reach him. I got the general voicemail. I realized that I was not going to get through, so I stopped trying and kept watching the news. I saw the collapse of World Trade Center Two and was shocked. Then I saw Tower One collapse. Less than 18 hours prior, I had been eating lunch at the food court just outside Tower One. I was horrified at how close I was to being in these same buildings now collapsing. How could such magnificent buildings get destroyed so easily?I knew then that the promptings from God were to avert me from being there. I was amazed. I went back into my bedroom, and in utter humility, I cried out with some sheepishness for being at first resistant to hearing God about doing the laundry. I was sheepish and then thankful. I received many calls that day from friends who knew I worked there to find out what happened to me and if I was okay. I could say only that God intervened and told me to go do laundry. I went, did laundry, and never left home. Friends were amazed.
Following the 9/11 tragedy and my path being so graciously redirected, I knew my life was spared for a reason. As I helped the company rebuild their destroyed systems, I renewed my focus and picked back up my seminary application process, sent out my pastoral letter of recommendation (from The Brooklyn Tabernacle), and shortly thereafter got accepted to seminary. Eleven months after 9/11, I headed to Chicago and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for a Master’s Degree (combining a Masters of Divinity and Christian Counseling Psychology). Since 9/11, I have been extremely aware of the premium of being sensitive to God’s voice on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, knowing it is the safest way to avert all manner of danger and truly thrive.
Fast forward to October 10, 2013, the day I received a “match” from eHarmony®. Her name was Elyssa. A 31-year-old, six-foot one-inch tall, red-headed, modelesque beauty. I discovered that she loved the Lord and was a virgin who was saving herself for her husband. We were matched for six months, dated six months, engaged for eight weeks and honeymooned for three weeks. We first kissed at the wedding ceremony. The wedding day for us was amazing. It was a dream comes true, and many guests expressed to us that our wedding ceremony was an unparalleled wedding experience for them.
That day, September 11th, 2001 changed the course of my husband’s life. It gave him a premium understanding of the value of listening to the Holy Spirit. It makes no logical sense, why Wladimir was not at The World Trade Center on September 11th. Why after a two-week vacation and after one day back on the job that he defied logic and listened to that still small voice. Wladimir could have ignored that voice today. Oh wait, he actually did ignore it! And that voice graciously returned, “Go do your laundry.”
I am so grateful that he did not plow through his morning routine and go to work that day. One thing I am near certain of, is that if he would have been at those towers that day. His life would have been counted among the loss of lives. I know my husband and he would not have raced out of that building seeking his own safety. He would have been helping others, it’s just who he is. He very likely would have been inside that tower when it fell. And that reality makes every day…different, special, purposeful.
We have chosen not to go on with life as though September 11th never happened. We have chosen not to believe that we just got lucky. Wlad’s life was graciously spared that day and we choose to live life intentionally. We are living a life together that we almost never had!
Fights have perspective.
Every day is a blessing.
We listen to that still small voice.