Acts of God

By Diana Laskaris, Stephen Ministry Leader

As I took the last step off the back porch and began to walk down the path I heard it. A kind of soft groaning followed by a long, slow whooshing sound, like a last gasp. I turned to see the huge old tree, the one with the rotting trunk that my neighbors had discussed time and again, falling across their driveway onto my fence and onto my house. It was like watching a horrible accident in slow motion. Because that’s exactly what it was. The tree smashed my fence, demolished my gate, put a huge dent in the gutter along my rooftop, and I stood in shock as I watched it happen.

After the reality of it shook me, I realized that a few steps less and I would have been under that tree myself. While it’s never easy to watch your home being damaged, it’s also a lot better if you’re not in the midst of the destruction, but watching it from several feet away.

Knowing that even just a week or two ago my neighbors were loudly discussing the fact that this rotted out tree was in need of removal that they somehow just didn’t bother to get around to, I realized that anger was building inside me. In case you don’t know, unless someone is considered negligent, Acts of God, such as trees falling on your house, apparently are considered nobody’s fault, and in all likelihood you will be the one to pay the bill.

Extenuating circumstances and dishonesty swirl in our case, which remains to be finally determined. But that is just where we are today. I have a tree that my neighbors knew posed a hazard and had discussed as needing to be addressed, lying on the side of my house and across my crushed gate. And I may get to pay for the damage it has done. This is one of those times that I proclaim, “not fair” and I cry foul.

Sometimes that’s just the way life goes. Stuff happens that isn’t fair and there really isn’t anything you can about it. Sometimes that can eat away at you, make you lash out or go deeper inside yourself. We all respond differently to these forms of stress.

One thing I know is that there is a group of people specially trained to help you and me get through these Acts of God by walking along side of us and asking the right questions. Helping us work out the feelings that we can’t articulate is the great work of the Stephen Ministers. They don’t have answers for us, but they help us find the answers for ourselves.

 When you have something that happens and you just don’t know how to process it, there’s no need to go it alone. Call a Stephen Minister and let them walk with you down the path. It may not change the circumstances, but it certainly can change you.