We are slowly building our house. It’s been two and half years and we are only a few weeks away from starting the dry-in process. We knew it would take a while, but we wanted to avoid the huge mortgage that often accompanies new homes. It’s been an exciting and tiring journey and our weekends are often filled with lots of extra work.
This weekend proved to be no different. We spent Saturday morning digging footers for the side porch of the house. The boys and I also chipped extra mortar and concrete off of the inside walls. I swept up leaves and hickory nuts while my husband bent rebar to go into the footers. Just when I thought we were done for the day, my husband said, “Let’s go cut down a tree.”
For those of you who don’t know, my husband has a saw mill. For several years, we have been sawing lumber for our future house. Our plan is to use trees off of our property and decorate each room in a different kind of wood. Apparently this week David spotted a giant, straight pine and Saturday was the day for it to come down.
David plowed a trail to the tree with his bull dozer and the boys and I followed behind in the truck. The tree was obviously leaning away from where we were standing and as David cranked his chain saw, I leaned down to the boys and instructed, “Keep an eye on the tree. Daddy is cutting it carefully and it will most likely fall away from us, but if it suddenly twists on the stump, I want you to run really fast down that hill over there.”
I turned my attention back to the tree and caught movement out of the corner of my eye. My oldest son had already started running down the hill. The idea of the giant tree falling on us terrified him and he didn’t want to take any chances. My youngest, however, was “oohing” and “ahhing” as the tree started to sway a little.
My husband kept sawing and soon, the tree began to fall, exactly where he anticipated it would. My youngest son was amazed as he watched the tree fall down. He soaked in the moment and enjoyed the thrill of watching the tree. My oldest ran back up the hill to see the tree. From where he was standing, he only heard the commotion, but did not actually witness the tree hitting the ground. The boys immediately began climbing and running back and forth on the fallen trunk. My husband topped the tree, hooked it to the dozer and proceeded to pull it out of the woods and down to the saw mill.
As we were backing out of the woods, I began thinking about the way my boys watched that tree fall. One kid was living in the moment, heeding instruction but still participating in the event. The other one ran to safety, afraid of the what-ifs, and missed the whole thing.
How about you? What do you do when the tree is about to fall? Do you stay and watch, soaking in every moment of life or are you too afraid of what might happen that you talk yourself out of being a part of things? It’s okay to have a healthy respect of the what-ifs and to be prepared for the worst, but don’t let fear make you live a place that doesn’t exist. If you are waiting down the hill, away from the possible fall, you won’t get to experience the thrill or adventure seeing it go as planned. Take a chance. Live a little. Stop wringing your hands. And don’t be afraid to watch a tree fall.