Katrina Journal
Slidell, LA — September 2005

Trees Bedding Down:

John and his wife awoke with a start. Only by Godís intervention did they awaken at all. As they lay sleeping in bed, a pine tree came crashing down into their bedroom, landing on the bed between them. John and his wife were unhurt, showered by particles of drywall.

I met John in the line for hot meals at Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Slidell, LA. He was there for food, as two weeks after Katrina there was still no electricity or water at his houseówhat was left of it. I saw John at lunch and supper as well. Sometimes he would bring a family member with him, but mostly, he would take several meals home with him. There was a lot of work to be done back at the home place.

He told me more about the trees. He had never cut trees down before, but in the wake of Katrina, there were many opportunities to learn new skills and re-evaluate oneís priorities in life.

John is a big man. I am not sure I can picture him up on a roof. I canít imagine how the pine missed him as he lay in bed. Then again, God has a way of working beyond the limits of our imaginations. God provides in many ways.

The tree in the bedroom was not the only one to hit the house, but John had some help moving the trees away. One of the trees was leaning against the roof. They werenít sure what to do. They notched the tree and cut it in such a way they hoped would make it fall away from the roof. It didnít budge. As Johnís chainsaw friends were inexperienced with felling trees, they sat back to think some more about what they could try next. As they sat there in thought, the tree moved away from the roof, righting itself.

They went back to work. They cut off a chunk of the trunk and managed to slide the tree on top of the cut piece. As they cut the lengths off, the tree edged down away from the house, bit by bit. John acknowledged to me that he did not know what he was doing. There were experienced chainsaw crews of volunteers at Grace Memorial Baptist Church. They had come from Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and Virginia to help with clean-up. John was not interested in getting the volunteer teams to help him. He was more concerned with them helping others. His experience had helped to change his focus off his own needs and look to the needs of others. John spoke of God helping in other ways as well. In the midst of Johnís lack of experience, God stepped in to walk him through the process of dealing with his tree problems and keeping him safe as the trees bedded down.

ó©Copyright 2005 Christopher B. Harbin

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