However, lately I have been catching more glimpses of the light that always shines in darkness.
It started several weeks ago when I went to the Disney Lake area of Cordova for a story.
As I neared the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Bevill Drive, I saw a giant sunflower growing on the side of the road. I had to stop and stare.
I have seen plenty of kudzu growing wild in the city limits but never sunflowers. Plus, this sunflower had sprung up in a neighborhood that was hit hard on April 27.
As I kneeled to take a picture of it, I noticed the broken remains of a trailer in the background. It was a sad sight that seemed entirely appropriate in the shot.
Across the railroad tracks, gourds are taking over part of the lot where a local artist lived before the storm and awaiting the day that she is ready to paint them.
Apparently no matter how much a landscape is altered by a tornado, beauty will always be back.
Signs like that are easy to miss unless you need them to give you strength. Then you see them everywhere.
A friend of mine lost her daughter to breast cancer recently. The night I heard the end was near, I had the odd thought that maybe Jesus would be wearing pink when He met Rusha. I sent that to her mother, Elane, in a text message hoping it would bring her comfort.
As always, God did me one better.
Rusha died that night, and for several days afterward the sky turned a gorgeous shade of pink at sunset.
My sweetest surprises come when I least expect them.
I worked Labor Day weekend. As I drove to the office that Saturday, I sought motivation in the fact that my overdue week of vacation would start on Monday.
One of the first things I did when I arrived was log on to Facebook to check for breaking news. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
Instead, a new feature on Facebook reminded me that Sept. 3 is an important date in my life. On that day in 2009, I posted “Jennifer has tested positive for something important but it ain’t the swine flu.”
That’s how I told most of our family and friends that Zac and I were going to have a baby.
Noah Wyatt was so small at that point that he was not even visible on an ultrasound. I was slightly excited but mostly in shock.
The girl who typed those words two years ago was freaking out inside because the plans she had set in stone had just been erased by a tiny plus sign.
The girl who read them last Saturday smiled because she knew her son is awesome and a part of a bigger, better plan.
Even on Sept. 11, 2001, the clouds that touched one of the hijacked planes had a silver lining.
United Airlines Flight 93 was likely supposed to take out the White House or the Capitol. Instead, it crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
The passengers aboard, unlike their counterparts on the planes that struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, knew that they were part of a coordinated attack on the United States.
They had time to accept the fact that they were going to die. Rather than spend their last few moments on this Earth in the fetal position, they voted to fight back.
Think about that for a second – they voted.
I’m sure that, like many of us, some of the people on Flight 93 had skipped an Election Day now and then. However, on one of the darkest days in this nation’s history, they took a vote and decided to fight for the freedom they wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy.
What an amazingly American thing to do.
From what I have read, it’s unclear whether the passengers made it into the cockpit. It is possible that the terrorists drove the plane into the ground themselves when they realized they had feisty hostages on their hands.
Either way, I believe President Bush was correct in saying that the passengers and crew of Flight 93 won the first victory in the war on terror.
One day, Wyatt will probably ask me where I was on Sept. 11, 2001. Since he is a smart kid, I expect he will ask if something so terrible will ever happen again.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell him that it won’t.
In this world, we are assured that we will have trials and tribulations. But there is always a light, and the darkness cannot overcome it.