Thursday, April 7, 2011

Never Alone

I've been doing some thinkin' lately. (Smell the burn?)
My bff hates yard work/gardening/anythingthatremotelyinvolvesdirt.  I, however can't wait to get my "spring" on.  I am willing Spring to get here and stay here, so that I can get to work on my flowerbeds without risk of cold evenings that might kill anything I plant.
Little Man and I were standing at the storm door waiting on the bus a few days ago, and while we were waiting, we were looking at all the budding trees around us.  In 2009, Virginia Beach was hit with a severe Nor'Easter. My girlfriend Tammy (of NYC fame) was moving to Maryland, so she kidnapped me, and had taken me out for a pedicure and dinner, when I got a call from Jay that one of our 80 year old Oak trees had uprooted, and fallen across the road, taking out the power lines.  It was pouring buckets, so he was out in the mud trying to figure out what to do, and Little Man was screaming in the background.  He was terrified that everyone was going to die.  I came home to utter chaos.  Most of the city was without power due to the storm, and by the time I got home, my parents, Memaw,  sister and her husband and kids were all at my house with their food stuffs, candles, batteries, etc...  (In case you couldn't tell, my house is the storm hangout. We made the mistake of getting a generator a few years ago, and it has all gone downhill from there. KIDDING! We love having company.)  It continued to rain during the night, and we watched the rest of the trees continue to sway during the night. By the next morning, right about the time we came downstairs, another tree started going down.  This time, we watched it fall. Right on the neighbor's house.

Luckily, it did not hit the upper portion where they were sleeping.  It fell toward the front corner where their den was.  No one was hurt, and no serious damage was done.  The next few days are a blur of survival.  You don't realize how much of your life is wrapped up in technology until you live without it.
After we got the trees cut up and hauled off, we had the third one removed, and there was a big, bare yard to decide upon.  We had just planted out an entire flowerbed around these old Oaks, so it was like starting all over again.  My sons and Jay did an awesome job carving out new flowerbeds, and evening out the grassy area, and we decided upon a new tree for the middle of the yard. A Japanese Cherry Blossom (think Washington D.C. on a MUCH smaller scale).
This year was the first year that we have been able to watch it bud and bloom.  The storm is over.  Most of the neighbors had their trees evaluated and removed all the weak ones, and we are left in an older neighborhood with a lot of new growth.  These are all good things.  Less trees= more sun on our pool, which means the pool is warmer and more enjoyable to swim in.
As Little Man and I were standing there looking out, I pointed out to him other trees that were budding. We talked about plants and flowers, and how important the rain is to all the Spring plants.  He pointed out our Japanese Maple tree, and what a beautiful shade of red our leaves are.  Honestly, I could not look. I got choked up.
There is a part of every human that can't see past the storm.  We go through difficulties in life, and we find the strength to deal with it and move on.  But there is also that part of us that doesn't want to move, and just stays paralyzed.  I have a hard time looking at that tree, because it represents so much more than just a piece of wood with some leaves.  That tree was a baby when we moved here. We loved it as a part of the house. My kids love that tree. My other daughter Rachel loves that tree.  When they lost their Bradford Pear in a storm, she wanted a "tree like Mrs. Debra's". Rachel's Bradford Pear was the tree planted when she was born. It was "her" tree, so replacing it was a big deal.  I have watched Rachel, Maddie, and Little Man (and every other kids that plays here) climb for hours.  My friend Ashley built me a swing for that tree, and my Jay hung it.  There are memories attached to it.

The little kids and me on the swing back in the Fall.
Change is an integral part of life. I know it has to happen.  I don't resist that.  But I also think that sadness  happens too. In some ways it is easier to talk about my sadness toward leaving my beloved trees than it is to talk about the living, breathing people I have to leave.  People become a part of you, you take pieces of your relationships in your heart for the rest of your life.
The easiest way for me to find God is in nature.  I see Him everywhere I turn. His presence is unmistakable.  Nature is always moving and changing. The tides turn, and what is left behind is a treasure.  The cold kiss of Winter explodes forth into glorious Spring with the Sun and the Daffodils and the Cherry Blossoms, and first peek of the Hosta leaves. (I still get excited about those tiny shoots!)
God is also turning my heart toward people. It is easy to protect yourself against hurt, and people can be hurtful. But they can also bring joy and love. God created us for intimacy.  We have a need for more than just ourselves, a lesson I learn more and more the older I get.
Kansas is a hotter, drier climate. Not conducive to my beautiful Virginia plant life.  I don't think I will be bringing much with me, in the way of foliage. But I will bring myself, with my weaknesses and failures. All of them covered by the Grace that is Almighty God. And I will start over, knowing that the God who saves me, never will forsake me. Never alone.


  1. This is a beautiful, touching post! I can't imagine how you are feeling right now, literally uprooting your life like your beloved trees. I think you have the right attitude, and you can't expect it to not hurt. Just think that it moving were easy with no pain, then that would mean that you did not live a life with meaning in VA. God is faithful and just like you see Him in nature, you will see Him in your move and in these upcoming changes. Thanks for sharing a little corner of your mind...I'll be thinking and praying for you!

  2. lovely lovely post my dear mrs. debra. you will do great in kansas because of this positive perspective on life.

  3. I can't even express what I feel...other than to say I love you!

  4. You brought tears to my eyes. You will be missed so much by those of us you leave behind. Know how much you are loved and that your friendship is one I will always treasure.

  5. Wow, thanks for sharing your heart. I'm so excited for you and your family's new adventure! However, I do know it won't all be easy--the great things in life rarely are:-)
    Praying for you....