It was in many ways, just like any normal Sunday. I had gone to BYC at 11, come home and made the announcement sheet for the Young Women, packed my Sunday bag and was back at the church 10 minutes to 1:00 in order to sit for a few minutes and prepare to take the Sacrament. The problem was, I was very far from feeling normal. I hope you will forgive me if I am being too personal. I have some very difficult issues with anxiety and depression, specifically I am one of the many women who experience Pre-menstrual Syndrome. There are moments when I can feel the anxiety in my chest, as though I were on top of a roller coaster ready to plunge straight down. There are moments when I am very sad and I cannot pinpoint a reason as to why. One thing that happens to me frequently during the cycle is that I feel as though I am failing in every aspect of my life and have disappointed everyone in my life and feel a desperate need to apologize. Anyway, I was feeling all those things as I sat down at church. Just five minutes before I had been pleading with the Lord to help me. There was a part of me that didn’t want to go to church today. I just wanted to stay home. But you know one of the main reasons why I go to church? Because it works. It’s as simple as that. Even in the midst of my anxiety and depression, I knew that I could go to church and hear some message that would help me. Even as I felt the anxiety get so bad just before the meeting started that I wanted to bolt, I stayed. As the meeting continued, I continued to pray for help, for something to happen that would restore my inner center, my sense of balance, and about half-way through the meeting, something did.
In all my inner struggles, I had almost forgotten what day it was. When the intermediate hymn was announced as “My Country Tis of Thee” I was a tad confused but then I remembered and as we stood to sing, something extraordinary happened to me. I thought about where I was on that day 15 years ago. I thought about the instant kinship I felt with the victims and their families as I watched TV, horrified. We were all brothers and sisters that day. “Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees, sweet freedom’s song. Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake. Let rocks their silence break. The sound prolong!” As I sang, I felt a new strength steadying me. I thought of the strength that shone through that darkest of days. I thought of the last words of love expressed to family members, of the policemen, firemen and other heroes whose heroism will never be forgotten, of the people on the other plane who decided that they would take a stand against evil and lose their own lives in the process. That strength is part of our heritage as Americans and members of the human race. It binds us together, and helps us find courage in our own inner battles. That is what this day means to me. That is what we can never forget. I never knew any of the people who died that day. But I love them and one day I hope to thank them for their legacy of faith and strength.
“Our fathers’ God to thee, Author of liberty, to thee we sing; Long may our land be bright. With freedom’s holy light. Protect us by thy might, Great God our king.” I close the hymn book and sit back down. There are tears in my eyes…but I can breathe now.
Picture from picsgroup.com