Terrorism: God's in the Gopher Dance
. . . (A)nd gently lead those who are
— Isaiah 40:11
Like everybody else, on the morning of Sept.
11, 2001, my eyes were riveted on the TV images of the Twin Towers going down.
I cried at the human bodies falling,
imagining the terror in their hearts as they plunged to certain death. I pitied
the panicked people running through the ashes and smoke on New York City
streets. The scene was so different from the placid, sunny morning in suburban
My fear deepened when I saw the Pentagon, our
citadel, smashed open with gaping wounds from another terrorist plane.
Vomit rose in my throat as yet another plane
crashed in Pennsylvania, taking still more innocent lives.
Was this World War III?
The end of the world?
Was it coming to our town next?
Could we get our eldest daughter home from
college 1,200 miles away, for at least a group hug, as our country went down in
Should I pick up our other two children at
school and run to the grocery store to stock up on water and canned foods, with
a quick stop at a Concealed Carry class?!?
I clutched our 1-year-old, Madeleine Joy
Mufasa McGee McGoo McGuire, carrying her to a chair for a long hug. It was more
for me than for her.
Would she get a chance to grow up?
What kind of a world would she have?
Would she ever again be happy and carefree?
The toddler jumped off my lap and thundered
over to get a "bock." She thundered back with "The Cat in the Hat
Comes Back," handing it to me expectantly. OK. I'll read you this "bock." Maybe
it would get my mind off this crisis for a few minutes.
My eyes kept wandering back to the TV screen
to read the update scrolls. But gradually, with her in my arms and the funny
book in front of us, I felt better.
I mused: the pink spots that the Cat had to
clean up were just like terrorism and hatred that had seized so many people in
our world. These pockets of evil are nothing new in world history. You just
have to deal with them as diligently and patiently as you can. Keep at it, hang
in there, keep working. Eventually, you'll return to peaceful living, at least
for a while. The world is a circle. Things happen in cycles. Good has to fight
bad, but soon enough, it comes back again.
But then the scary images came back on TV. I
started obsessing again.
What's going to become of our country?
Will there be a dirty nuke?
Are guys in camo going to come crashing
through that picture window, hurt me and Maddy, and take all our stuff?
The baby jumped off my lap again. She stomped
over to her toy basket. She brought back her dancing gopher, a fat, fuzzy
"Caddyshack" toy. It sings and does the twist.
"Butt! Butt!" Maddy demanded. (That
means "push the button" on the toy. I assure you, she didn't get THAT kind
of talk from MY side of the family!)
I pushed it. The gopher started to swing his
arms and hips in the cute "Caddyshack" dance from the movie. Maddy staggered
around in a gleeful circle, "dancing."
What a scene: the darling little girl
twirling around joyously in the foreground . . . and the awful TV images of
doom and destruction in the background.
Suddenly, I focused on the words that the
little gopher was singing:
I'm all right!
Nobody worry 'bout
No need to get so
Why can't you just
let it be?
at the dancing gopher. "Just let it be." Hunhhhh.
Just then, the phone rang. I ran into the
kitchen. It was my best friend, touching base real quick. We wailed together
about the terrorism. We expressed our helplessness, our fears for our
children's futures. We told each other we loved each other, and to wear a
helmet. We hung up.
I spotted my Bible on the kitchen counter,
left there from the night before. Might there be some wisdom and comfort there,
The book flipped opened to Isaiah 40. My eyes
instantly were drawn to the top of the page, verse 11:
He will feed His
flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the
lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His
And gently lead those
who are with young.
a minute! "Those who are with young"!
would be me!
umpteenth time that morning, tears dripped down my cheeks. This time, good
gently lead us.
though this was BAAAAAAAD, God would take care of His laaaaaaambs.
That was the last moment I have ever really
worried about anything at all. If there's anything good in the legacy of 9/11,
anything at all, for me, that would have to be it.
He is God. He's got this.
Message received, Lord! We can trust You.
You'll work things out for our good. We'll come together for solutions. We'll
help each other.
We will be OK.
I raced back into the family room and joined
in the gopher dance with Madeleine Joy Mufasa McGee McGoo McGuire . . . who
knew it all along. †