bittersweet

When I look out my office window at night, I can still see my tree. Too bad it’s just my imagination.

Well, the whole thing is down now. And even though the sight of that stump is enough to bring tears to my eyes, they’re partly tears of joy. Because God is already using this stinky situation to bring glory to Himself. And I can honestly say the tree was worth the sacrifice.

You already know about our immediate neighbors rallying around us to help. Well, now, anyone who walks by stops to talk to us about the tree. People who have walked by our house for two years and we’ve only ever nodded at each other. Amazing.

Two days ago, a woman down the street came up to us and said she’d had a small tree fall over. Gabe and I (and the girls) and our neighbor Jaja marched right over and helped her cut it all up in minutes. And now she’s my new friend.

I made cookies and wrote notes to all the people who helped us, and they all just gushed appreciation. Like baking cookies is anything compared to sweating for hours to cut up a monstrous tree WITH NO CHAINSAW. No, I didn’t give anyone the burnt cookies. And I know they liked them, because I saw evidence of chocolate chips on a few lips.

I gave some to the gal whose tree fell down too. We chatted for a bit, and if felt so good to reach out to someone that I just wanted to dance.

So then today, I was out and about with my neighbor Olga (look at me being all out and about all the time!) when some City tree-picking-up trucks drove by. They had picked up a few of our branches yesterday, and Gabe thought they weren’t coming back. He came out and asked them what the chances were that they might possibly be willing to cut down our remaining (hugungous) branch.

The supervisor guy said they weren’t supposed to do that sort of thing, but that it really was a hazard and would fall as soon as the next big wind hit it. And they cut it down and hauled it away for FREE!! All they left were a few leaves and some sawdust! Do you understand what a HUGE PRAISE this is?! I sat on the ground with Olga and our two little ones and yelled, “Praise the Lord!!”

We swore to secrecy (cutting down a tree when you’re not supposed to). Is a public blog secrecy? If they get in trouble, we will defend them with every ounce of our beings!

They were funny guys too. One was a Steelers fan (and a former Mr. Universe contestant–his supervisor said so). He teased Gabe about giving him a Red Bull. So I brought out cans of cold Faygo pop for all of them when they were done. They were soooo thankful. It was amazing. Instead of a thousand bucks, it cost us roughly $1.00. Unreal.

And then we got to talk to our next-door neighbor who has always kept to herself, and she told us she remembers when the tree was planted (17 years ago). And I heard it through the neighborhood grapevine that she’s going through a very rough time right now, so I’m praying for her.

And all of a sudden, I just felt a huge wave of sadness, missing our tree. And I’m starting to cry. But God is so awesome. Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him!

17 thoughts on “bittersweet

  1. terriwright

    I agree with the rest: your tree has been a major witnessing opportunity, and you are more and more ‘one’ with your neighborhood. THAT is what being neighbors is all about. Otherwise, just move out into the middle of nowhere. I think this is awesome.

  2. Anonymous

    Marla,

    So sorry about your beautiful tree!  But I am glad that the fate of your tree has brought you and your neighbors together – that’s cool!  And awesome of your city guys to take down that tree – very lucky on that one. 

    Planning to plant a new tree?

  3. Anonymous

    Warm smiles from the inside out at my author friend… who’s out and about with people!  “(look at me being all out and about all the time!)”  You’re funny! 

    God indeed stretches us when we seek to glorify Him!  Praying for your new relationships and God’s glory filling everything! 

  4. KmHunsberger

    Wow. I am just in awe of all of the opportunities that have come your way since this all happened. Praise the Lord.

    Hey…I have been thinking and I used an analogy the other day to try to encourage you…well, i am not sure it came across right, especially considering what just happened to your tree I told you not to get lost among the trees (meaning the small aspects of life) and to focus on teh big picture (how you are striving to honor God in so many areas of your life). On thinking about that analogy…it may have come across as though I were saying who cares about your tree…and that wasn’t what I was trying to say at all. I know how much you enjoyed that tree and I am really sad for your loss of it. I praise the Lord for the opportunities that have come since…but I most definitely understand your pain in losing it. So there….just to clarify

  5. M3mine

    Funny how God uses trees to bring people to Himself.  How neat that something as weird as hurricane winds in Ohio have turned your neighborhood into a sharing and caring one.  Praying God uses those winds and your beautiful tree to bring others to a saving knowledge of Himself!  (BTW…are you planning on planting another beautiful tree?) 

  6. ClutzyButtercup

    How great that God used an unexpected wind and a fallen tree to do so much!!!  Six months ago God used no wind and a fallen tree to provide us with a better pool screen and a new roof!  God’s plans are so much better than anything we can come up with!

  7. shannahhogue

    Who knew God would use the demise of a tree to create a social network in your neighborhood?!? How cool is that! (sad for the tree, but cool about the network, of course!)

    Prayed for your next-door neighbor just now!

  8. lites4Him

    Wow… what a story coming out of your sadness! Isn’t that just like the Lord! We’ll be continuing to pray that He will use you and this situation to bring Himself glory. Bless you as you continue to walk… and have a great time at the zoos this weekend.

  9. luvmynoah

    Connections…people….God.  I’m so proud of you guys!  It’s just awesome that you are reaching out to those around you.  They can most definatly see Jesus in you and your family.  This tree= salvations…I just know it!

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