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A Letter on 9-11

I keep a journal of letters to my son. Here is last night’s entry, which seems to speak to more than just him. I offer it as a brother to all those who hope for peace.


September 11th, 2013

Dear son,

Today marked the 12th year since the horrible tragedy known as “9-11” when cowards flew planes into buildings and brave souls rushed into those same buildings. Sometimes this world seems that simple: light and dark, good and evil. But I heard that over a thousand of those brave souls who rushed headlong into those burning buildings twelve years ago have cancer as a result. And some of them don’t have money or insurance to pay their doctors. And I don’t know, but I bet some of them have little babies, like you, and they watch those babies sleep, like me.

Also today, our country is having a debate about whether or not to start another war, against another bad guy, who hurt more innocent people, some of whom were fathers, like me, and some of whom were babies, like you.

What I’m trying to say to you, my love, is that life is really not simple; it’s not simple at all. There are more than two sides to every issue and the fabric that unites all God’s children is so often twisted and mangled and tattered and unraveling, until I don’t know what to do, or who to trust, or how to think. Just outside the walls of your nursery is a world of pain and violence and fear in which you will eventually be asked to come of age. And there’s nothing I can do about that.

But here’s what I do know to do: watch you sleep tonight, cuddling your green blanket’s fabric to your sweet, sweet face. My emotions are hardly simple: and I think that is prayer.

I love you,


About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.


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