Who would have thought I would have noticed the lack of contrails in the sky or the absence of air traffic noise. The world had become a surreal place overnight. The passengers on the train uncharacteristically acknowledged each other as if silently comforting each other, but no words were spoken. We were just together.
When I was a little girl I asked my mother what hell was. I couldn’t reconcile myself to the Idea that the God I grew up with would hurt or torture people. My mom’s answers was simply that hell was the lack of the presence of God. That didn’t sound too bad to me as a child. As a child I couldn’t comprehend what that meant but it was an answer that seemed like a more gentle consequence. A choice already made by the souls that ended up there. After 9/11 I finally understood. I had never realized that God was a constant presence in my life. A part of every second of every day and I had just taken that presence for granted.
On 9/11, for the first time in my life, I felt the absence of God. He had totally left us as if he had never existed. It was the most painful, empty, frightening, lonely feeling I had ever experienced. I remembered what my mom had told me as a child and now it made perfect sense to me.
Several days later God came back to me in a sunset, a way he often shows himself to me, and started to help me heal from his absence. A slow process for all of us. I never want to be in hell again.
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