With the tenth anniversary of 9/11, many of us have spent some time pondering those events and remembering much of the pain and devastation that day caused in our lives and consciousness. The effects of that day have not ended. Families are still mourning loved ones who were lost, and families continue to lose loved ones who are willing to lay down their lives for the freedoms of others. Yet, this war, that has now been going on for ten years, is so far removed from most of us in the United States that it is easy to pretend like it is not happening. It is easy to forget the devastation, hurt, and fear we felt ten years ago. However, with that pain and loss came a binding together such as I had never known was possible in this country.
It had been a long time since I had heard people speak proudly in public about God and our relationship to Him, both individually and as a country. Yet, for the weeks and months following the attack, people came together in a profound and touching way. We remembered God. We remembered all He has given us, the protection that He had offered so many times, the strength He continued to offer. We found comfort in Him and in each other.
After a few months, though, that reflection and power seemed to fade. President Thomas S. Monson was asked to write a piece for the Washington Post blog “On Faith” for the tenth anniversary of that fateful day. He shared some thoughts that reminded us that God is always there, even when we don’t call on Him. We should call on Him more, in the good times as well as the bad. He remarked on the country’s behavior after 9/11:
“There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.”
This time served to remind us how much strength we have when we lean on our Father in Heaven. However, President Monson also noticed how quickly we seemed to forget, “Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.”
The counsel that a living prophet of God gives us is to draw near to God now and always: “The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly ‘need Him every hour,’ not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.”
I draw a great deal of comfort from knowing that we have a living prophet of God who offers us counsel and encouragement. I also am comforted to know that God is unwavering in His love for me and in His constancy. He will always be there for all of us to lean on, and can bless our lives so much more if we are willing to allow Him in for our joys and sorrows alike.