It seems appropriate at this time to honor those who suffered and gave their lives in the Twin Tower attacks on 9/11 ten years ago.
I just finished reading a book, Unmeasured Strength, by Lauren Manning, who survived the 9/11 attacks. It’s an incredible story of her survival and transformation from the fire that nearly killed her.
Lauren was running late to work that morning due to an unexpected phone call. As she leaves her apartment at 8:30, she quickly catches a cab to carry her to the World Trade Center. Upon arrival, she enters the building to begin her elevator ascent to her 105th-floor office at Cantor Fitzgerald. But she never makes it to the elevator.
She recalls feeling “an incredible sense of otherworldliness” as she veers toward the elevators. “It’s an odd, tremendous, quaking feeling, and everything…moves. The entire 110-story tower is trembling,” she writes.
“With an enormous, screeching exhalation, the fire explodes from the elevator banks in to the lobby and engulfs me, its tentacles of flame hungrily latching on. An immense weight pushes down on me, and I can barely breathe. I am whipped around. … I see people lying on the floor covered in flames, burning alive.
Like them, I am on fire.”
Lauren suffered burns on more than three quarters of her body. It was a miracle she survived – very few doctors believed she would. But Lauren had to learn that “the journey through a harsh and unforgiving landscape of pain and disability was mine alone to make. That I lived, that I narrowly escaped the fate of so many others that day, is a humbling reminder of both the extreme fragility and the surprising courage that exist within all of us.”
It’s a beautiful, but heart-wrenching story. It’s also a reminder of the responsibility that each of has to make the best of whatever circumstances come our way. It’s not okay to give up. It’s not fair to quit trying. It’s not God’s plan to surrender.
Have you felt like giving up lately? Can you apply Lauren’s story to your circumstances?