When my brother and I were little our family vacationed at a small, out of the way South Carolina beach. Each summer for a week we enjoyed a happy, stressless week with usually the same other families. Three incredible meals, huge breakfasts of eggs, bacon, pancakes, fruit, dinner at midday and supper in evening. The most restful sleep we could have.
At the end of our week a few of the adults would prepare a bonfire around which all the children would sit, wide-eyed listening to the famous story of the Grey Man. As happens with story telling there are many backgrounds to this legend. The one shared with us was of a young woman waiting impatiently for her fiancé who was away at war.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, her fiancé had been killed. Wandering the beaches one early foggy morning she saw in the distance what appeared to be a young man, tattered clothing, slowly lifting his arm to wave, and suddenly vanished into the mist.
Soon after she learned of her beloved’s death, just at the time a hurricane was anticipated. The families left the island and upon returning found all their homes had been demolished, all save the family of the young woman who had seen the apparition. Curtains still hung in the open windows, laundry still on the line.
Just at that moment in the telling of the story, some one of the group clad in a sheet would leap out from the sand dunes, all the children knowing this would happen still shrieked and were chased all over the beach, laughing.
The legend is that anyone who sees the ghost before an impending storm will return to find their property untouched. As I recall this memory one of the news stations is broadcasting the horrific events that happened on this day, seventeen years ago. The attacks on America.
So no, though I admire the order of the natural world I cling daily to only God. No matter what happens, He is truly the only One who can restore order to chaos.
This day when I remember so much horror that happened for no reason other than abject hatred and utter evil I am thankful to the God of all that is. He gives us strength to rebuild, help others, to restore what was lost. We can’t bring back the innocent lives that many still mourn but we can do all within our power to see this does not happen again. It won’t eliminate evil but we know that no matter what, evil does not, in the end, win.
9/11 Memorial, World Trade Center, New York City
See you on the other side.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” __ James 4:7