Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I wanted to tell of one other highlight of my trip to NYC before getting back to Kirksville and the present. Although I didn't do a lot of "tourist things" this trip, I did take a detour to St. Paul's Chapel in Manhattan. Many of you might remember it during the 9/11 tragedy as the spot where many firefighters and rescue workers rested, slept, prayed and contemplated what was going on. It was a spot of solace, virtually untouched, in an area of chaos and confusion.

My visit was on Sept. 9, only two days before the sixth anniversary of 9/11. Several exhibits were sprinkled around the periphery of the sanctuary--the origami figures sent by Japanese schoolchilren, the chasuble covered with police and fire patches, some of the thousands of teddy bears sent not long after the tragedy--tangible gestures of healing from six years ago. Here in the Midwest, we tend to think to ourselves, "They need to get over it," but standing there among all these artifacts and watching the various visitors made me realize how dismissive we are in this regard. New Yorkers so obviously still carry a lot of raw emotion over this event.

Out of all the displays, one caught me in a way no other could. One of the pews had been set aside with a firefighter's jacket draped over one arm and a pair of rubber fire boots sitting beneath it on the floor. This simply display spoke volumes, because it was a scene played many times over as weary firefighters slept beside their jackets and boots in those pews. The backrest of the pew still bore the scrape and scratch marks left from countless rescue workers. This simple display gripped me more viscerally because it could carry the same kind of power a nativity scene does, by having an iconic quality to it--an icon of hope, an icon of the disciplines of faith, an icon of self-sacrificing love.

That trinitarian image of pew, jacket, and boots stuck with me all the way home simply because it was real, rooted in the moment, yet able to transcend six years of time. It was a reminder that when we often rise to our "moments of greatness" in our lives, it is usually not something we planned. We just happened to be there at the time, and we did what had to be done, and it turns out when viewed through the retrospectoscope becomes our finest hour. God so often leads us to our greatest gifts when we are not looking for them. We so often rise to our greatest strengths in the face of when we feel we are about to fold from weariness, doubt, or fear--an amazing concept!

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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