Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you...?

Location is the background for all of our memories.  We plan many of them.  I planned to marry my husband at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Piedmont, South Carolina.  I remember the way my husband looked that day, my friends that were there, the taste of our yummy cake, but surrounding those mental images is Rehoboth's sanctuary and fellowship hall.  I chose to have my children at hospitals.  Most of us plan that too, be it a hospital or a birthing center, though I have known someone who gave birth in the car on the way to the hospital!  The decision to have my oldest daughter at a hospital may have saved my life because I had to have three units of blood and surgery following her birth.

We choose the locations for happy memories, but some of the more difficult memories just befall us wherever we are at the time.  Today, everyone is remembering where they were on September 11, 2001 when they heard the terrible news that unfolded that day.  North Greenville College (now University) is where I was that day.

I had an 8:00 class, Teaching of Language Arts, but nothing after it for awhile, so I went back to my dorm room around 9:15.  My future husband, Clint, didn't have a morning class on Tuesdays that semester.  It wasn't unusual for him to call me then if he hadn't yet made his way to school.  When he called that morning, he had a sense of urgency in his voice.  He told me to turn on my television, that an airplane had flown into the World Trade Center.  I turned on my television to find instead that an airplane had flown into the Pentagon.  I thought somehow one of us was getting the wrong information, but we soon discovered while we were on the phone that both places had been attacked.  We were shocked.  Soon, Clint was on his way to North Greenville.

I remember standing in the Administration Building's foyer, where there was a TV on the wall.  Easily, fifty people were crowded into the room watching the scenes continue to unfold.  This was a room full of mostly godly young people, college students with plans to serve the Lord through various ways in the coming years.

Classes continued to meet, but as always, classes began with prayer, but this time for the victims, for their families, and for our country.  We had a prayer service after my last class of the day.  It met in our newly built music building.  I remember walking to the service with two of my friends, Dawn and Tara.  I had nearly every one of my education classes with these two ladies.  We all were taking 20 hrs a semester, taking the fast track toward doing our student teaching a semester early, so we saw each other a lot.  The two of them were engaged to some great men, and I was just a couple of months away from being engaged myself.  We all were getting married the following summer.  We didn't know what to expect for the young men we loved.  We prayed for them, because we knew our parents' generation had to experience the draft.

Of course, that day wasn't the end.  Prayer continued in a major way across our campus.  The godly professors at North Greenville and our godly administrators led us in our chapel services so well.  That year's See Ya at the Pole was especially beautiful. 

Prior to this, the last major terrorist attack on American soil had been domestic, the Oklahoma City bombing.  I believe I was fourteen at the time, and I remember staring at the TV the night after it occurred, saying to my mother, "Who could have done this?", and crying.  I had a Christian mother to offer solace.  God, in His sovereignty, ordered my life, putting me in a place where I had many Christian influences to help me and others through the events of September 11, 2001.

I couldn't help but think of the influence North Greenville's professors and students had on my memories of that day.  The college one attends can affect so many areas of our lives after we graduate.  Some of us marry college sweethearts.  Some of us are diligent workers because of work ethic instilled in us by professors.  Most of us have some of our worldview shaped by what we hear in the classrooms, for the positive or the negative.  Countless faithful youth become unfaithful adults through their years in college.  I am so thankful that God sent me to North Greenville, where I was encouraged to find a church to attend regularly on Sundays, I was required to be under the preaching of God's Word twice a week in chapel, and everywhere I turned, I had friends seeking to live purposeful, Christian lives.  Young men were not allowed past the curb of my dorm.

Can students of large, secular, state universities be faithful believers?  Absolutely.  I'm simply sharing how the choice I made to attend a conservative, Southern Baptist school was a blessing to me, and I do hope it may encourage younger women to consider the same.  We never know how location may affect us. 

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