“For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its roots grow old in the earth,
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.”
I have always loved this verse from the book of Job. I know that I am not a tree; however, it gives me hope that no matter how bad things get there is always hope for new life and new opportunities for growth and fruit. Over the past few months, we have experienced a whirlwind on the farm and in our lives.
On June 16th, our community met the first of few storms that wrecked havoc. With straight-line winds of over 80 mph, we not only lost power for 4 days, we had major tree damage losing giant walnuts, honey locusts, pines, cherries, peaches, apples, and oaks. We had roof damage, a collapsed awning, vehicle damage, and five crushed fence lines. In wasn’t just at the farm, it was our whole community. In fact, our mayor declared a state of emergency. Power lines were buckled down over roads for miles in multiple directions. When the storm hit, Catherine and I were stuck under one of the few power lines that actually did NOT snap in half (this is a whole other story about God’s goodness and graciousness to us that day). Throughout our community, roofs were ripped off houses, barns collapsed, and grain silos thrown like rag dolls across open fields.
Between that storm, two hailstorms, and a plague of Japanese beetles we lost all the fruit from our trees. The damage has exceeded well over $15,000, without an insurance claim to make (no crop insurance).
But then, beauty came. The stress and trauma transformed into new relationships. Friends and supporters came to our aid with gasoline for the generator, chainsaws to help with damage cleanup, and a few extra meals. We made new friends with some of our neighbors. Although we lost a bunch, we gained a whole lot more. For example, one of our neighbors lost the roof to his barn, some of which landed in our field. His barn damage was so bad that his insurance company considered it a total loss. Our neighbor then, in turn, gave us the whole structure if we would tear it down. And that is just what we did! For an entire week, we tore down his 40’X60’ barn and salvaged tin, lumber, and hardware. The curse of the storm turned into a huge blessing! With the materials we acquired, we will be able to build needed infrastructure on the farm, including a tool shed, barn addition, outdoor kitchen awning, chicken tractors, and who knows what else.
It wasn’t just trees down on the farm, trees came smashing down all over our county. Most the debris from the city went to one location, which then got shredded and chipped by a landscaping contract company. Graciously, Keipos was given a few hundred yards of those wood chips to help mulch our 5 garden sites in Papillion!!! Through destruction came beauty, in the form of resources and relationships!
Immediately after the storm ripped through, a bright rainbow appeared, stretching across the sky and over the devastation all around us. At that moment, all I could think and say was “f---” the rainbow, look at all this chaos and devastation! But really we just need to “find” the rainbow, and all the beauty that it promises. Our plans rarely work out how we have them planned in our heads. If we don’t remain humble, we will be humbled. And if we think we are already humble, we will be humbled some more. LOL. I am not grateful for the storm and the loss that it caused; however, I am grateful for the new life and direction that it brought. At the scent of water, we can sprout again…