Thursday, September 11, 2008

Walking Wih God Through the Grief of September 11

The seven years following the devastating events of Sept. 11, 2001 have been long, difficult ones for me, filled with different stages of grief and with learning how to go on in a world that still seems slightly askew. Having a personal relationship with the living God who has conquered death and sin was the anchor that allowed me to weather the storm.

I grew up right outside of New York City and it and its skyline are as much a part of me as the bones and tissues that knit together my framework. Two weeks after the tragedy, I returned there to spend some time trying to find normalcy and to take my children there so that they wouldn't be afraid to venture into Manhattan. First stop: the Empire State Building, a personal favorite of mine. A symbol to me all of my life of the city's greatness, romance ("An Affair to Remember" is one of my all-time favorites) and beauty, the 103-story deco building offers breathtaking views from its observatory. After seeing the still-smoking hole that was Ground Zero, we headed to our hotel and my heart cried out to the Lord. I needed to feel bottom in a sea of emotion and heartache.

The Lord answered. The view from our room was the Empire State Building. We'd chosen the hotel because of a discount rate, but the Lord knew I needed a few days of being able to gaze out at something I loved, something still standing amidst the chaos around it; something still alive with activity. It and 2 Corinthians 4:8 from The Message version of the bible ("We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken") were life-saving medicine.

A few weeks ago I realized that though it had taken almost seven years, I had worked my way through the desert of grief and was ready to visit Ground Zero and lay it to rest. I had business that took me into the city and I decided to stay over in a hotel not too far from the site so I could walk to wherever the construction would allow me to get closest and spend some time in prayer.

I checked into my room and found a pair of complimentary earplugs on the desk with an apologetic letter from hotel management explaining that I might be able to hear noise from nearby construction. I settled in and opened the drapes to find that my room directly overlooked the Ground Zero construction site. My heart was filled with gratitude to a loving God who knew just what I needed. I drank in the site, all of it in one sweeping panorama, devoid of debris and the center of new life and activity, and quenched a seven-year thirst. Foundations for new office buildings, a performing arts center, a transportation hub, a visitor's center and memorial were going in. The activity continued around the clock and I never once thought of using those earplugs. The sound was music; streams in the desert.

There is no pit so dark or black that God's light cannot shine through. There is no place so lost that we cannot be found because He is always right there with us to share the experience and lead us out.

"Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done." (Psalm 9:11)

1 comment:

NewJerseyJesus said...

What a wonderously inspiring and honest post. After reading it, I was reminded of those words from an old song, "On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand."
Create A Buzz About Your Book
Custom Search
Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York in February 2018.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle. and the Episcopal Actors' Guild.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2018 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

All Posts on this Blog