Something has always bothered me about 9/11 and September of 2001.
As the anniversaries would come and go I could never quite figure it out.
Until this year.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years…when it happened I was a senior at Milligan College in Tennessee. In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in other ways, it feels like that was a lifetime ago. This year, I spent the anniversary watching memorials on television, calling old friends that I was with when it happened, and went for a walk to reflect on my memories of that day. This entire September my thoughts have turned back to that season of life.
While I was walking, I had an epiphany.
After 20 years, the mystery revealed itself.
We had just witnessed the most traumatic event ever seen on television.
Some professors refused to cancel classes or acknowledge what had happened. Some professors immediately led pacifist prayers and gave anti-military speeches on 9/12.
In the midst of that, some people were saying “let’s nuke the entire Middle East” or “kill ’em all and let God sort it out.”
At the same time, everyone was rushing to inject themself into the story. “I think they’re going to attack Tennessee next.” “I was just in New York last year.” “My best friend’s cousin’s neighbor just applied for an internship at one of the towers.”
In hindsight, ALL of these responses were equally bizarre. But why?
No one actually took time to process what had just happened.
And…no one gave us (students) time to process what had just happened.
That’s what has always felt strange about 9/11 and what has always continued to bothered me.
There were still people being pulled out of the collapsed towers, and the political and religious spin had already begun. Instead of praying for people fighting for their lives, those who had lost loved ones, the brave first responders, and for wisdom for our government leaders, we had ideologies crammed down our throats.
As I continued to think about this…I realize that this is the great mental illness that is slowly killing America.
We’re never allowed time to process both bad and good things that happen. To observe. To withdraw to the desert like Jesus and be alone with our thoughts. To be silent. To think. To grieve. To pray. To cry. To process our feelings and emotions. To seek wisdom.
In today’s minute to minute news cycle, there is always a talking head, rant, tweet, satirical post, meme, article, or speech from someone telling us how to think…always without end.
I think this is a mistake…
More than a mistake.
I think this is the cause of our collective anxiety, rage, and division. This truly is a mental illness…and it will kill America if we let it.
We need to take time to process. To put our phones down. To go on walks. To be silent. To listen. To pray. To seek wisdom. Abraham Lincoln did it. Jesus did it.
So should we.
Article Written for Stuff Christians Know by Nevan Hooker
Nevan graduated from Milligan College in 2002. He spent 14 years building a publishing company that was acquired by Salem Media in 2018. He is now a full-time investor who lives in Las Vegas with his dog Arizona.