From Beneath the Trees

18 Nov

“I just cannot believe that you’re gone…Rest in peace, my friend.”

I read the posting of an old high school friend to another high school friend’s wall on Facebook last night. Confusion. Alarm. What was she talking about? I frantically clicked over to the friend’s page and began scrolling through condolences and utterings of shock. It took a few minutes before I read the post explaining that a tree had fallen on our friend’s car as she went to pick up her kiddos from school, killing her instantly.

A tree.


At the exact moment she came down a two-lane country road.

Falling in the precise way needed to cause immediate, deadly impact.

My mind scrambled. Where was the logic? How could this make sense? It’s one thing for someone to lose their life because they were doing something or being somewhere they shouldn’t have. Then we all nod our heads and think it makes sense and it can’t happen to us because we’ll make wise decisions and avoid that kind of danger.

But this? A tree fell. A RANDOM TREE. Who can prevent that? Outwit it? Prepare for it?

And why her? I live in a town whose main road is Pine Ridge. It’s lined with, you guessed it, pine trees. Giant ones. I’ve marveled at their majesty and rolled down my windows just to listen to them as the wind blows through, to breathe deeply and take their scent into my lungs. I never considered them a threat.

Now, fear lanced through me. With the fervor of a mom whose kiddos have been threatened, I started planning routes to school, work, the grocery store, the hairdresser, and the bookstore that wouldn’t involve Pine Ridge Road. Should I write the city and ask them if the trees could come down? Tell my husband of other, safer, less treed routes?

Within an hour, our high school class rallied together on Facebook, coordinating donations for flowers at the funeral and funds for her children. And then, once it was clear all the details were handled for the logistics of our meager attempts to do something, anything, to combat this incomprehensible tragedy, the postings turned to grief. And then, as if we all realized everything we hadn’t said to her when she was with us, what we hadn’t said to each other in years, these people I haven’t seen for twenty years began reminding each other, “I love you. I miss you. Kiss your babies tonight. We should get together. A reunion.”

I trudged up the stairs and fell into bed. Wrestled through the night as falling trees and high school memories collided in my mind. Woke up to the realization that this is how the enemy ruins life for me. He wraps fear and tragedy around beauty, encompassing it so completely that it can barely be seen or felt and so I abandon the beauty inside. He robs me of the joy of a good thing that succumbed to the broken world in which it was placed. He doesn’t let me see the “I love you” and “I miss you” and pulls my mind hard toward the fear that this could happen as easily to anyone else I love, or to me – leaving my babies behind – and that makes loving people a dangerous thing, not a beautiful thing.

But I didn’t die yesterday. Which means I need to live today. Somehow. Even as I fear and try to handle the troubled soul in me. So I got out of bed. Showered. Dressed. Dressed the kiddos. Piled them into the car and backed out of the shelter of the garage. And, as my little girl read a story aloud and my son told me about the basketball practices he’s loving, I drove us right down Pine Ridge Road.

The pine trees still majestically lined the road, drinking in the morning sun and gently waving in the breeze.

And I defiantly chose to acknowledge their beauty from my broken place here, beneath the trees.


Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Life Lessons, The Misc Bucket


4 responses to “From Beneath the Trees

  1. Judy

    November 18, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    In 1986, I was scheduled to fly to England. My first and possibly only trip. It came as an unexpected opportunity. Days before my flight, the US bombed Libya. Threats were made to retaliate against America’s allies, including England. Everyone I knew who planned to go to England cancelled their plans. I placed my life in God’s hands. On our flight, there were less than two dozen of us. The flight attendants gathered us all in one section. One flight attendant knelt in a center seat and asked why everyone was flying. She admitted that she was doing it for the money she needed. Almost everyone was going home. One woman and her children were going to Germany to join her husband serving in the American military based there. They asked me. “If it’s my time to die, there’s nothing I can do about it. I might as well be doing what I’ve always wanted to do.” I had an amazing experience that summer and never for a moment regretted it. I can live in fear, or I can give the fear to God. I’m quite good at accepting opportunities that come my way as I’m able. God is endeavoring to teach me to live the same way on the inside. I’m so glad you enjoyed the trees. Thank you so much for the much needed reminder.

  2. Linda Rodante

    November 18, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Rebeca, thank you for the blog. I am so sorry about your friend. I think this is what we are seeing in America, in Christians, today. Fear. And the enemy using it to scare us into ways of living that might not be what God wants. And it’s because of what happened in France. Strange. After 9/11, we were all determined the terrorists were not going to win. We went out defiantly to eat, to play. But today, I see and hear more fear than ever before. God told Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage.” I think he would say that to us today, too.

  3. J. Oakley

    November 19, 2015 at 1:06 am

    An awesome truth and powerful reminder that we are not in charge of all the things in our life – requiring us to be present in the now. Beautiful!

  4. donna newsom

    November 20, 2015 at 12:39 am

    You have touched my heart in such a difficult time. Annette was my sister in law and will be missed by so many. Thank you for easing my heartache. Sincerely!!!!

    Donna Newsom


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