On September 11 this year I was told a story from my friend Jack who worked in an AT&T call center at on September 11, 2001 and who had a friend in the World Trade Center. It was clearly an emotional event for him and it left me contemplating how a single decision can mean life or death.
What’s worse is you don’t get to know that you’re making a life and death decision at the time. You make the best choice – or the one you are drawn too – or the one which you just happen to make. And that choice has consequences.
After years as an RN he felt like he wasn’t going to ever make enough money as an RN so he decided to change careers. He decided to become a financial analyst and his orientation day was on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center. That morning he arrived and while in a conference room receiving training an intercom came on and it announced that everyone should stay in place.
The people listened to that intercom announcement and remained in the room – and the instructor also instructed everyone to stay. But this man, Steve, said that he wasn’t staying and no one else should either. So he convinced that room of people to leave the building and they walked down the stair well and exited the tower.
Steve made his way to the local hospital and was ready to serve as an RN for when the people affected by the day’s tragic events were rushed to the hospital. –And it was this part of the story where Jack, the large, former-football-playing man who was telling me the story about Steve (who was also a large, former-football-playing man), got even more emotional remembering it — The worst part was: No one came.
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh Jack was in the AT&T call station trying to handle the day work-wise but also personally, because he knew it was Steve’s first day that day. Then Steve’s parents called Jack asking him to get in touch with Steve. But Jack couldn’t. New York’s cell communications were overloaded and then purposefully blocked – so my friend was placed right into his friend’s family’s angst and mentally at the World Trade Center.
September 11, 2001 is a scarring day. A day that left many with many questions – unanswerable questions. A day of near misses that left many pondering “what if…” about decisions that day. A day that for many was the last day of their lives.
Steve couldn’t have known that deciding against the intercom announcement was a life and death decision. But he made a single decision and it had a singular affect on his life.
It was clear soon after the decision that he had made the best decision. But how often in life do we make a single decision which we are oblivious to the fact that it meant life or death?
We don’t get to know in advance what impact a decision will have on our life’s journey. But if we trust in God to guide us, protect us, and love us and if we don’t waste time worrying about “what ifs” then we can at least know that when we make a decision we have done our best to make “the next best decision” that God is calling us to make. And when we run out of decision points we can at least know we gave God our best “yes” to this fragile life He has so lovingly given us.
Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen our ability to listen to His promptings as we make each and every decision. Guide us Holy Spirit. Keep our hearts, minds, and ears open to your guidance. Protect us Guardian Angel. Keep us safe from all harm. Thank you oh loving and great God for this fragile life you have gifted us. May we always make decisions which keep us on your path.