What Do We Do
With This New World?

by Cherry Pedrick, RN
Reprinted from Suite101.com, October 5, 2001

We had just packed the car and were prepared to travel from our home in Las Vegas to take our son back to Seattle, when the whole world changed.

Our neighbor yelled across the street, “You’re not going to the airport, are you?”

“No, we’re driving, why?”

“Because the airports are closed.”

“Airports – what do you mean they are closed? Which airports?”

“All of them! Turn on your TV.”

We went inside and turned on the TV. And that’s when life changed. The world changed. A plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers, and then a second tower had been hit. Then the scene changed to Washington DC. The pentagon was hit by a third plane. This couldn’t be happening! Not here, not in America. As we stared at the TV, I prayed. I prayed for the injured, the firefighters and police, the families, New York, Washington DC. I prayed for my family, for America, for the world. For this new world.

What shall we do now? The car was packed. College awaited our son. My elderly aunt in Oregon awaited our visit along the way. So we loaded the cats (yes, we travel with three cats), locked the door, and began our trip. The radio linked us to our new world. All planes were grounded. A plane was missing – no, two planes – no, just one plane, it crashed in Pennsylvania. Flight 93. Only later would we hear the tragic and heroic story that “Flight 93” now automatically brings to mind.

Our days were spent traveling through the West, glued to the radio, our nights glued to the TV. Reno, Klamath Falls, Portland, Seattle, then back to Las Vegas. The story followed us; it was everywhere. We left our son at college in Seattle. How could we leave him? We left him in God’s hands, much more capable than ours.

At first, the tragic events didn’t bother me as much as I would expect. I wondered why. They weren’t real. They were images on TV and in newspapers. It couldn’t be real. When my husband and I arrived home, we unloaded the car, fed the cats, and went out for Chinese food. That night we fell into our chairs in front of the TV. I looked at my husband and said, “It’s real, it’s in my living room, not just on the TVs in the motel rooms.”

That began my journey toward acceptance. I realized then that the stomachaches, lack of appetite, and backaches on my trip were my body’s ways of dealing with what my mind rejected. Now I was plagued with headaches and sleepless nights, fatigue, and more stomachaches and backaches. That’s normal for me. Anxiety and depression are expressed through all kinds of body discomforts.

So what do we do with this new world? How shall we live? Let me know what you’re doing to cope. How are you helping others cope? Here are a few of my thoughts:

If this were your last day on earth, how would you spend it? What decisions and priorities would you make? As a Christian I am thankful and comforted by my faith in my salvation for eternity. I challenge us all to live each moment fully, joyfully, mindfully. I don’t mean to account for every moment, but to enjoy each moment, make each moment count. Include peaceful, spiritual, and joyful habits in the moments of your life.

Our world changed on September 11, 2001. Together we can make it a better world. The terrorists did us much harm, but we can choose to limit that harm. I am reminded of the Bible story of Joseph in Genesis. His brothers were jealous and very mean to him. They sold him to a caravan of merchants who sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph did well in Egypt, and when a famine hit the land he was instrumental in saving his brothers from starvation. Here is his response to his cowering brothers:

His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:18-21 (New International Version)

I’m not saying that God had a hand in the terrorist attacks. Quite the opposite! But I believe He can bring about some good from the harm that was caused. Justice needs to be done, and we may be at war for a very long time. But even in the midst of war, we can make a better world by the way we live our daily lives.

Our world changed on September 11, 2001. Together we can make it a better world.

Be sure to check out The Habit Change Workbook:
How to Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones