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The Love Story That Came From 9/11: A Love Story About Reaching Your God-Given Potential

A love story grew out of September 11, 2001. The love story of the 9/11 attack is worth retelling because it exemplifies the level of Love that is possible in our relationships. It is a love story about what it means to be lost in love; a Love greater than any other because of the impact it produces when it is delivered… and much later when the love story is told again, as in this article.

This love was first seen on September 11, 2001 on Flight 93, which crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside when those brave passengers were willing to thwart the terrorist’s plans and die… to save others. The Love in action during that incident is the Love to which Christ referred when he said, “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

This Love is so great because it is a Love far beyond what our humanity alone can offer. It is a Love that does not come from us, but comes through us, bypassing our conditional logic and expressed as unconditional and selfless. It is the Love of God.

During the attacks, we saw this selfless love over and over again. George Howard, a policeman who had the day off when the terrorists attacked, ran from his house to the World Trade Center. While he was helping those in need, he was killed by falling debris. There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life to save the life of another.

This level of Love was seen in many office workers, including an older man whose dear friend was a paraplegic in a wheelchair. When his disabled friend told him to get out, he refused to go. Instead, he helped his friend make a phone call to his wife and then made his own call. After contacting his nephew, who asked why he wasn’t trying to escape the burning building, he said that he couldn’t risk letting his friend die alone. Moments later, they died together when the tower collapsed. Neither of them died alone. There is no greater love than this, giving life for friends.

Then there is the love story of Reverend Mychal Judge, the beloved New York City Fire Department chaplain who also answered the call. While he was giving last rites to a fallen firefighter, Father Mike was beaten and killed. His body was pulled from the rubble by a group of firefighters, who gently placed his body on the altar of a nearby church. There is no greater love than this, giving life for friends.

Every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to be a part of God’s love story by loving others in selfless service. A Ty Herndon song contains lyrics that speak of the power of this kind of love.

Tell me something, who can ask for more?

To be living in a moment… Loving every minute.

Tell me something, who can ask for more?

Than to be living in a moment you would die for.
God’s unconditional Love flowing through us has the power to create that kind of moment; a moment so determined, meaningful and selfless that the ego disappears and, with it, any concern about dying. That’s losing yourself in love… and living up to your God-given potential.

Erma Bombeck said: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope that not one bit of talent is left and I can say: ‘I used everything you gave me.'” Our ability to choose is a gift from God. Using it to lovingly serve others is our gift to God. Loving like this in our daily lives is the supreme work we have in this life.

A cartoon in a newspaper after the terrorist attacks showed firefighters flying down the stairs of the World Trade Center, forgetting about themselves to find and help people in need. The last image showed firefighters standing on the clouds at the gates of heaven. They wore their rescue uniforms, with halos on their helmets, reporting on their walkie-talkies: “We’ve reached the top.”

At the end of our lives, I hope God is smiling at how we, like those firefighters, love so completely and selflessly and reach the peak of our God-given potential.

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