I took a picture today of my three kids standing in front of the World Trade Center memorial. They were smiles from ear to ear. And while I love to see my kids smiling, for obvious reasons smiles didn't seem to match the occasion. The innocence of the moment is that for them, being born long after the WTC attacks happened, this monument memorializing that day means nothing to them. But for anyone old enough to be stunned by the horror and tragedy surrounding that event, the monument speaks of a solemnness that can't be captured in words. But, perhaps there was a different message captured in my picture today. And since it is said that a picture is worth 1,000 words, let me see if I can capture my sentiments in that amount of cyberspace:
There were three of us adults waiting in line to visit the WTC memorial. Each of us had a kid. We waited in the line to get into the area, and then proceeded through the security checkpoint. I get it. I do. Keep the crazies out. Sadly this is the post-9/11 world. Security checkpoints, strip searches, RF tracking devices, x-ray body scans.
This is done so that we could be FREE. But we don't feel free, do we? We don't get on airplanes without having fleeting thoughts of underwear bombers. We walk through crowds with white-fisted grips on our children. This is our freedom, and it's a bit disappointing. But it's an American reality.
But as my kids stood there smiling this afternoon, not having to worry about airplane attacks or briefcase bombs left on the street, I thought, "This is what freedom ought to be. So let them smile." My hurry to stifle their smiles because I thought it was somewhat inappropriate to the occasion represents that I live in a world that isn't as free as it ought to be.
I look forward to the day when I can embrace that kind of freedom, although I know that won't happen until God sets the world back in perfect order. I, for now, am caught in between wanting to enjoy that kind of freedom and living in this present age of terror alerts and police security details. And my kids will likely live in an ever-increasing dangerous planet. They will know trouble in their day, as much as I hate the thought of it.
But one day we, who embrace Christ with our whole hearts, will smile. We will keep smiling. We will know Freedom and never return from it. And that, for sure, is something to smile about.