Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peeling Back The Layers

Hemphill Bald Trail - GSMNP
October, 2008

Last Saturday evening, we had a horrible thunderstorm.  Nestled between the Cumberland Plateau and the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, we are fairly protected from extreme weather.  Saturday evening was the exception.  It was sudden and it was severe.  We were sitting on the couch bemoaning the fact that the UT vs. Oregon football game had been halted because of lightning in the area.   Suddenly, there was a flash and a crash that sounded like an explosion.  I screamed and Mr. B yelled that something had been hit.  I remember saying, "is it us" and his replying, "I don't think so, but it was very close."  To make a long story short, we soon realized it was our next door neighbor's house that had been struck and it was on fire.  They have two small children which they immediately brought to our home.  Their mom had just finished their baths when the storm struck and both were stark naked, terrified and shivering uncontrollably.  My heart just broke.  Fortunately, the fire was contained to the attic and it was only after the fire department arrived with their spotlights were we able to see that the lightning had actually struck a huge oak tree beside their home and then jumped to the house.  Much damage was done, but all are safe and repairs are already well underway.  

But I sure wish you could see that tree.  It is a huge, majestic oak tree that looks as if its been carved from top to bottom.  Giant pieces of bark were torn away and debris is spread over three yards.  The tree is exposed, ripped and naked in a way I can't even begin to describe.  I tried taking a picture and will try again in the morning with different lighting, but it just doesn't begin to illustrate the reality.  I, however, was astounded by the analogy that came to mind as I walked around that tree in the peaceful calm of early Sunday morning following the late Saturday evening storm.

That tree looks kind of the way I feel.  It stood tall and proud seemingly all together until it was confronted by something much more powerful and strong than it was.  The bark was ripped away in pieces until the tree was left still standing, but with it's "insides" totally exposed.  These last posts, although a result of a relapse in my weight loss efforts and life's circumstances, still feel as if they came out of nowhere.  That I've been confronted by something much larger than I am and left exposed.  It hasn't been easy to write nor has it been easy to push the "publish" button.  The layers have been peeled back.  The ones that needed to be pruned, hopefully, have been.  The ones that remain attached, hopefully, will be nurtured and grow back even stronger.

See, here's the verdict on the tree.  The arborist says he believes the tree will survive and he does not recommend cutting it down.  It was exceptionally healthy and strong with a root system that doesn't appear to have been damaged.   From looking at the tree, I find this hard to believe.  But if I've learned nothing else so far on this journey and from your stories, my blog friends, I have learned that it's not what you see on the outside that counts.  Strength comes from within and it is from within that we find life.  It is from within that we find wisdom to change and courage to ask for the things we need.  

I am like that tree.  As it stands tall and as I watch it heal, may it be a constant reminder to me that I too, am strong.   Very strong!

Current period of extreme introspection is now declared over - it's back to basics.   And just for the record, this morning, I've begun day four of healthy on-plan eating. This morning's weight - 159.5.  Exactly what it was on September 1.  There is still time for a good loss by October 1.   I am strong - very strong!


  1. Sharon I love this post and I love the sentiment behind it. I am going to believe that I too am like that tree. I needed to hear this post today. You are going to make it and I am too!

    Thanks again for sharing. How are your neighbors holding up, and can they live in the house as it undergoes repairs?

  2. I love your analogy to the tree. It's beautiful!

    Scary story about the storm. Thank the Lord everyone was okay. Are your neighbours able to live in their house amidst repair?

    Congrats on the 150's! I'm jealous...I wish my scale would move a little faster!!!!

  3. This is a wonderful post, Sharon. I am just catching up on my blog reading after my "vacation" last week and see that you have really been doing some serious soul searching this week. I love your introspective posts and think it's so important that we take a look inside to see how it relates to our outward living. So glad you are feeling STRONG! You most certainly are!!

    Way to go on 4 days on-plan :D

  4. You're right: There's plenty of time to post a loss by Oct. 1. You can do this ... we can all do this.

  5. Yes, you are strong. Very strong. Just like that tree. Your roots are strong and firmly planted and you'll definitely see a loss by October. Enjoyed your reflective thoughts and am really curious about seeing a picture of that tree.


  6. This a an amazing analogy and an even more amazing realization for you. I hope your strength continues to be as evident to you as it is to me:)

  7. Awesome story & writing! Thanks for sharing that. What a scary time for sure. D

  8. Great and poignant post. We were hit at our hobby farm by a group of funnel clouds in June that took out a several large branches of a beautiful old black walnut tree. WE decided to cut just the two big branches off because, like in your story, the tree guy said it would survive. That tree and its brother witnessed many family events, grandbabies playing under eat, hundreds of outdoor meals and even my son;s wedding reception. So, I know what you mean, a tree is not just a tree. Glad no one was hurt.

  9. What a powerful analogy. I'm so glad you've realized that you are strong and firmly rooted in. The fact that you are willing to look deep within for truth tells me that you will absolutely be okay. You're still in my prayers Sharon. By the way, we got hit really hard by the same storm, so I know what you mean when you say it was sudden and severe. I'm so glad you and this other family are okay.

  10. I am a huge fan of analogies. I especially love this one--mostly because it is true.

    You ARE strong, and while the tree did not choose to have it's inards exposed, you did. That makes you stronger. :)

    Your roots will hold you; they are embedded in the Rock.


  11. Just getting back to reading my blogs as we've had some internet connection issues while traveling. Loved this post. Great connection with the tree and your life at the moment. You are right, as long as our roots are firmly planted we can and will survive. Good job!

    Sorry for the family next door to you. Glad they are all safe, though.

  12. You are only halfway through September, Sharon, so plenty of time to record a loss for the month! Onward and downward ...

  13. This is a great post, Sharon! For some reason, it takes a long time for your site to load on my computer. Sometimes, it gets stuck and it takes several attempts. So glad I kept trying this morning! A payback well beyond the effort!