Before We Know the Future

I was in my kitchen in Orange, VA with NBC’s Today Show playing on my little tv as I cleaned up the dishes.  My daughters (ages 14 and 13) were beginning their homeschool work for the day in another room.  I heard Katie Couric and Matt Lauer report that it appeared that a small plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.  Or was it an explosion? They talked to a witness, wondering what was going on.  I called the girls into the kitchen and we watched as the second tower was hit.   One of my daughters said “wow, nothing like this has happened in my life”.

We watched history happening throughout the day – schoolwork and anything else set aside – and listened to the reports of the other two planes crashing into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.   The footage of the planes crashing into the towers was played again and again,  and the people were running and the smoke was billowing and it was all so horrible.

I went to class that night (microbiology) in Charlottesville and the instructor dismissed us, finding it impossible to teach.

At the time, my oldest son was serving as a reservist and was in Fort Dix, NJ – preparing to leave for a deployment to Bosnia.   Since that day 12 years ago,  my two sons have served 12 deployments between them.  I am a mom who is proud of their service.

Strong opinions about whether we should be wherever are voiced all over the internet and on tv.  I am not one of those people with a strong opinion because it can be difficult to KNOW. I struggle with what is the right choice because I do not know the future.

I do know it’s much easier to form an opinion on the right decision in hindsight.  Many will be writing books decades from now about what should have been done or how things could have gone better.  Lest we get too smug and know it all,  here’s what was printed in an encyclopedia about Hitler – published in 1931:

From Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia – Volume XV – Haggard – Hovey Copyright 1931 

Entry found on page 395 

Hitler, Adolf (1889–)

German political leader, born in Austria, but a naturalized Bavarian. In November, 1920, he organized a movement in Bavaria based on the Fascist movement in Italy. His followers wear gray shirts and brassards with a swastika in a white circular field on red. They were said to be armed with blackjacks. Hitler stood for a strong, united Germany. On Nov. 8, 1923, he and General Von Ludendorff seized the government at Munich, but their power lasted only a few hours. Ludendorff was captured first; Hitler was taken on November 12. They were tried for treason in April, 1924, and Hitler was sentenced to a short term in the fortress at Landsber, Bavaria. 

That’s ALL that was written about him in this “antique” encyclopedia.  But now we know the rest of the story.

Before we knew what had truly happened, reporters wondered and we watched not knowing :


baptism jesus

John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

Matthew 3:13-17

I saw two young men get baptized this morning  – in the Rappahannock River after church in Old Mill Park.  In a lifetime of church attendance and after seeing many people get baptized, I do not recall ever seeing an outdoor – non-pool – baptism. (My sister tells me she was baptized outside in a body of water – but I do not remember it and am not sure I was there. Or was I just not paying attention?  🙂

Walking down towards the river, standing on the banks with a crowd of people to witness the event – reminded me of a couple of old pictures I’d seen in a collection of Flewelling photos.

In back of the home where my mother grew up in Easton, Maine – there was a creek ( river? pond?)  where many believers were baptized over the decades long ago.  Mom says she remembers her own mother getting baptized after a hole was cut in the ice.  Those people were made of strong stuff!  My mom and her sister were baptized as young girls by their dad (my Grampie) in another pond in their neighborhood.

 (The diving board in this photo indicates that other things happened at this pond – in the nearly two weeks of summer-like weather in northern Maine.  🙂  (four weeks?)


How many decades ago was this photo taken?  I have no idea who is being baptized – or who is witnessing the event.

Baptism. Flewelling lake, Easton-001

And who is this man in the yellowed photo?

River de Chute water  baptism (1)

A peer of my mother’s generation – baptized in the same pond.  (photo may be from my Aunt G?)


Since I grew up in a faith tradition that does not practice infant baptism, I was baptized in a church baptismal as a young teen (along with a young friend). I wish I could remember a bit more about the event.   My husband was baptized as an infant, and then again by immersion as an adult.  Each of my children were baptized in an outdoor pool – with their dad assisting the minister.

Today I witnessed two more believers follow Jesus’ example.  They walked into a river, confessed their belief – and intention to be a Christ follower – and then were “buried” — and rose to new life in Him.  The witnesses applauded.


What is Baptism?  (from