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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'I still don't sleep'

Jon Wright, a member of St. John Lutheran Church, Merrick, N.Y., finds meaning these days in John 1:1: "In the beginning was theWord, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

Words are good therapy for the volunteer firefighter, who is keeping a journal and writing a book to help heal from his experiences at ground zero. Wright lost six colleagues Sept. 11, including his former partner in his home contracting business. He spent months on rescue and recovery efforts.

"My spirituality was questioned beyond anything," says Wright, 47, a 30-year member of the Freeport Volunteer Fire Department, the first outside New York City to be called for assistance.

"The emotional bottom fell out for me five or six weeks ago," he says. "I suddenly wanted no part of church. I felt like a lost soul."

Counseling for post-traumatic stress, along with a six-month hiatus from the fire department, is helping Wright heal and move on. He's now back to the church he has attended all his life, and can see beyond the flashbacks and panic attacks.

"Counseling is starting to help, but I still don't sleep worth a damn. And I have nightmares every night," he says.

Although his faith was shaken, Wright never blamed God for the destruction. "I know why it happened," he says. "It was a nut case.

"I know it's going to get better and that it takes time. A lot of people are praying for me. We will all be bonded together by this forever."


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