Ten years in the life of a young adult: We changed, but God didn't

Ten years in the life of a young adult: We changed, but God didn't

A lot can change in a decade.

I grew from a glasses-wearing, braces-clad preteen to a college graduate with a new job and first apartment.

Movies are no longer produced on cassettes, and we went from cell phones the size of bricks to tiny ones with touch screens.

The country changed, too.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was in 7th grade. We were sitting in homeroom when a teacher ran in and said we should turn on the TV.

Once we did, we learned the terrible news -- that some people had taken airplanes hostage and rammed them into big important buildings in New York City.

But we didn't understand, not fully.

It's hard to wrap your head around something like that, especially when you're 12.

I distinctly remember going home that afternoon and sitting outside with my parents, talking about what had happened in a place some 400 miles away and how it would impact the whole country.

But then, I don't think anyone really could wrap their heads around it, that first day.

I don't think anyone really believed something like that could happen here, in America. Things like that always happened in other places. Violent, bloody, sad and tragic deaths like those resulting from the downed planes and collapse of the Twin Towers happened elsewhere.
In the years that followed, our generation learned a definition of patriotism unlike any other generation before us.

We grew accustomed to the idea of not really having privacy -- that for our own safety the government could tap our phone lines or search our belongings before visiting a national monument.

We signed up for the military, to fight for our country, honor and freedom.

We decided God was on our side, although he also created the Middle East and the people who live there. We asked him to bless our country, knowing full well that God did not create the artificial boundaries of country as we know them today.

God stayed the same, even though it seems the rest of the world changed entirely. He loves his children -- red, yellow, black and white, like we learned in Vacation Bible School -- and he reigns over the entire galaxy.

But he also knows the heartaches of each family who lost a loved one in the crash; of each firefighter, rescue worker and police officer who fought through the rubble to rescue another; and of each child in a military family growing up without a parent.

He was in each blanket handed to a shivering victim, riding in each ambulance and working in the hands and feet of each nurse and doctor who strove to save the wounded. He was in the smiles of reunited families, and in the fundraisers held to send help to New York City.

I think that day in 2001 brought us -- our nation -- together, even if just temporarily. I think God often uses moments of great sadness to bring communities together and remind us of the importance of fellowship.

He teaches us that he is sovereign. He reminds us that this world, people included, are his creation. He shows us he loves us through the actions of others, through our own stirrings of compassion.

Yes, a lot can change in 10 years.

But God hasn't changed, and in that I take great comfort.

Allie Robinson is a member of Payne Memorial United Methodist Church in Cumberland, Va. She was active in the Wesley Foundation at the University of Virginia College at Wise, graduating in May 2011. She is now a reporter for the Bristol Herald Courier.