We all remember what we were doing on specific days of historical significance. The day JFK was assassinated. The day the space shuttle Challenger exploded.
And September 11, 2001.
Depending on your personal situation, those days were often very emotional. In my case, I spent hours trying to contact my best friend and another close friend both working in Manhattan. Fortunately, both were fine. Still, it was a gut-wrenching day for someone who grew up in a New York City suburb.
And on days of unspeakable tragedy like that one, people of faith often wonder: How can this possibly be part of God’s plan?
In this case, 9/11 answered a decades-old question.
The story begins many years ago. My mother had a good friend who was deeply religious, one of those people who always believed that everything happens for a reason. But whose faith was seriously challenged because of her son.
Her child was brilliant, always the best student in the class. But he suffered with a medical fatigue syndrome and was often tired, sometimes needing a full day of rest. When he had plenty of energy his mind worked at warp speed. So he learned to pace himself and made sure he got the rest he needed.
Still, the woman questioned the reason her son was born with this issue. She would talk about it with my mother. “Why would God give my son such a brilliant mind and a body that isn’t normal? If everything happens for a reason, what could possibly be the reason?” To her, it made no sense. She never missed Sunday Mass, prayed every day, was a good person. As Catholic as they come. Her situation fell into that category of “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Fortunately, her son had no other issues, and a life expectancy that was normal. He graduated from college taking classes every other day and wanted a career in finance. He was brilliant when it came to math and anything related to investments. He dreamed of a job on Wall Street.
Problem was, that fatigue syndrome meant he could never have a full-time job as he did not have the stamina to work two days in a row. This was before people worked remotely, so working from home was not an option. He would need an employer that would let him have every other day off.
Luckily, he found a financial company that realized his brain was an incredible asset, even on a part-time basis. They hired him, which made his mother proud. Though she still wondered why he’d been saddled with physical limitations that wouldn’t allow him to reach his full potential.
Her son commuted to Manhattan every other day, working Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. His office was in the World Trade Center.
September 11, 2001, was a Tuesday.
Without his medical condition, he would have been at work that day. And would have died with those three thousand other souls.
His mother’s question was finally answered.
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