Fallen Giants

Two days ago, one of the AmeriCorps St. Louis guys with the Emergency Response Team (ERT) was called out to start work on a massive tree that fad fallen across two adjoining yards.  He, along with two of us from the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) joined him as he began falling limbs the size of large trees off the base of the trunk. 

The tree has to be a couple hundred years old and its base is close to 5 feet in diameter.  Below are some photos from today, as we returned with a larger group made up of members from the AmeriCorps St. Louis ERT, AmeriCorps NCCC and UM Corps (the United Methodist Missions and Disaster Response Team). 

As we were working, clearing out the branches, cut limbs and rounds, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to see this giant tree before it toppled in the storm.  It must have been beautiful.  Limbs stretched out.  Standing strong and tall.  It must have been the dream for any kid wanting a tree house or fort (no, there is not one smashed to pieces on the ground).

 There have been many giants that have fallen.  We have seen hundreds of trees that have come down from the storm, ripped out by the roots or snapped by the sheer force of the tornado.  Nations have fallen (look at Rome for example).  Armies have been utterly destroyed.  A young shepherd boy takes out a giant and leads the Israelites to victory. 

 We rise and fall.  That is the nature of humanity.  All throughout the ‘Old Testament’ and the story of the Jewish people we see our forefathers constantly stumbling and then rising back to take their place as God’s chosen people.  We see it in our own lives, constantly falling from grace only to be received with open arms full of love. 

 Sometimes getting back up hurts more than the fall.  We are humiliated, often times in front of family and friends and we struggle to get back to our feet.  Many times we just want to stay on the ground and we feel like we are about to die.  Then there are the times when we can’t get up on our own and we have to rely on the strength of others to lift us back onto our feet. 

Though we are not a tree that has fallen, now smashed to pieces, it may take some time to clean everything up.  Many hours of hard work and we may only find ourselves part of the way there.  We may never be the same person we once were, because it’s in the moments of getting back up that we grow. 

And as this city, St. Louis, begins to get itself back up on its feet, it will grow stronger through communities coming together, neighbors working alongside one another, experiences shared. 

God Bless and PEACE

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