As most of you know by now, the July 8th storm in my area took out a very old fence and an even older tree. Both of which belonged to me. Thankfully no one was injured in the incident, save for my fence and tree… and some of my neighbor’s lawn.
I’ve never had to deal with anything like this in my life. I found myself going through the spectrum of emotions: from anger to sorrow. It made me realize what I was made of, along with the parts that I was missing. My situation was nothing compared to the millions of people whose lives are completely destroyed every year by natural disasters. I had a tree go down on my fence. My house was untouched. Everyone in my life was unharmed… it was bad, but it wasn’t the end.
Even though it felt like it a few times.
My reaction to the unpreventable situation alarmed me. I suppose you can never be completely prepared for that which you can’t predict. The Apollo astronauts (all astronauts really) constantly trained for what could go wrong… so that when something happened that threatens the mission or their lives, they wouldn’t think, they’d do. I didn’t think. I let my emotions take over…and barely was able to reign them in.
It’s taken me these two weeks to realize why I reacted the way I did. Simply put, I’ve been lucky. Lucky to have not gone through anything like this before. Lucky that my life has never been turned upside down by forces beyond my control. Lucky that I have (insurance) the means to take care of situations like this. Lucky that I am healthy and that I can fix what was broken.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. Good things and really bad things. Things I’m proud of and things I’d rather have buried with the tree stump.
The outpouring of offers of help are humbling to me. Neighbors routinely approach me asking if I want a hand. Each and every time I graciously and politely decline. Not that I couldn’t use it. Cleaning this mess up and putting a fence back up is hard work. Subconsciously I think I’m forcing myself to do it alone… to sweat all those bad things I discovered inside me out. To feel the pain of back-breaking work. To appreciate what I have that much more.
I’ve dug posts for my new fence. I’ve poured concrete for my new fence. I’ve cut wood, removed roots, measured, leveled and sweated for my new fence. I’ve made new friends because of my new fence. I’ve pushed myself to do things I never thought I could ( or would ever ) do because of my new fence. I’m a little bit better of a human because of my new fence.
I did not plant the tree that fell. I did not build the fence that was destroyed. The new tree will be one that I’ve planted. The new fence is one that I’ve built.
Bob’s tree is gone. But he’ll get another one.