Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Birthday, The Thunder of Thor’s Hammer, and the Peace that Transcends Understanding

The past week has been a very long week for me. It has been a trying time, a growing time, and a learning time. The never-imagined and unexpected both became real. Some of it has been rather shocking. Most of it has been exciting. Some of it has been very challenging. Nevertheless, even amidst the new obstacles and difficulties that have presented themselves, I am grateful and have found love, peace, and joy. Life truly is a journey and even though the bad stuff is never pleasant, it makes me remember what a glorious adventure I am living.

I have several things I wish to write about and explore that have happened the last few days. I won’t be able to get to them all at once. So, I’m going to break them into smaller pieces. I’ll start at the beginning.

Last week, November 30th, was my birthday. Also, I almost died last week. Put the two things together for a really exciting statement: I almost died on my birthday. Well, not exactly on my birthday: it happened a few hours later, but it was close enough to say I almost died on my birthday.

I went to bed that night to the crackling of solid objects freezing and ice-laden tree branch-bombs falling from the sky. The closest I’ve ever been to being in battle is on a paintball course, but my Dad said all that ice and all those trees falling sounded like combat gunfire. It was a little frightening, but I found it more thrilling than frightening. I love storms and saw a side of nature that I really hadn’t seen before.

Anyway, the electricity went out long before I went to bed, but even without any heat I slept soundly. Once I get to sleep, I rarely wake up—one time when I was a kid our entire block was almost evacuated because of the burning of the township building down the street; there were fire trucks, police, ambulance, etc. but I slept through the whole thing. However, around four in the morning on the first day of December 2006, I was awoken by what sounded like Thor’s hammer pounding the Earth. Turns out, about half of this giant tree next to the house had collapsed beneath the burden of the ice it was carrying. It was too dark to see how much damage it had caused, but the tree was lying across the front yard and we could hardly open the front door.

I went back to bed, but didn’t get much sleep after that. Sometime near dawn my Dad and I went out into the freeze to check things out. The tree knocked a corner of the house away. Also, part of the tree landed on my car. There were a lot of dents, but surprisingly none of the windows on the car were broken.

But, here’s the real kicker: the tree should have landed on the house, but it didn’t. The tree should have crashed into the room in which I was sleeping and killed me, but it didn’t. I studied physics once and have had experience up to pre-calculus in mathematics. Even given the force of the wind that night and the extra weight of the ice, there is no worldly rational or logical reason why that tree didn’t crash into the house and land on top of my head. That tree fell hard, too; it’s been chopped up and taken away as firewood and lumber now, but the yard is riddled with foot-deep holes where some of the branches jolted themselves into the frozen soil and I’ll never get all of the dents out of the car. After studying the scene that morning, I found myself amazed. I could have died that night, but I didn’t. There are those that will scoff, but I know that the hand of God was involved, protecting me as I slept. That truly is the Peace that transcends understanding.

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