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Is this Normal?

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Well, here we are in the holiday season and nearing the end of the year. Our lives are busy and hectic. We contemplate plans for the upcoming year and start to formulate in our minds the changes we would like to make and resolutions that we need to commit.

When you look forward, it is helpful to take a look back to see what has changed. No one will doubt that our lives have changed and perhaps changed dramatically. The events of September 11 have a profound effect on us, our country and indeed the world.

I have been given an excerpt from a piece written by Max Lucado, the well-known Christian author. It is called "Is This Normal?" Let me quote and paraphrase a little from this piece.

"Four thousand gathered for mid-day prayer in a downtown cathedral. A New York City church, filled and emptied six times on a Tuesday. The owner of a Manhattan tennis shoe store threw open his doors and gave running shoes to those fleeing the towers. People stood in lines to give blood, in hospitals to treat the sick, in sanctuaries to pray for the wounded.

America was different that week. We wept for people we did not know. We sent money to families we've never seen. Talk show hosts read scriptures, journalists printed prayers. Our focus shifted from fashion hemlines and box scores to orphans and widows and the future of the world.

We were different that week. Republicans stood next to Democrats. Catholics prayed with Jews. Skin color was covered by ash of burning towers. We're not as self-centered as we were. We're not as self-reliant as we were. Hands are out. Knees are bent. This is not normal. And I have to ask the question, "Do we want to go back to normal?"

Are we being given a glimpse of a new way of life. Are we being reminded that the enemy is not each other and the power is not in ourselves and the future is not in our bank account?

Perhaps the best response is to follow the example of Tom Burnet. He was a passenger of flight 93. Minutes before the plane crashed in Pennsylvania he reached his wife by cell phone. "We're all going to die," he told her, "but three of us are going to do something about it."

We can do something as well. We can resolve to care more. We can resolve to pray more. And we can resolve that, God being our helper, we'll never go back to normal again."

This is Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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