Picking Up The Pieces

Near the Puget Sound, where I live, snow seldom falls.  On those rare occasions that cold, white precipitation makes an appearance, accumulation is generally less than two inches.  A few weeks ago, however, things changed.  It snowed, and snowed, and snowed some more.  We had a record-breaking TEN inches overnight, and the snow continued to fall.  It was beautiful!

The interesting thing about living where there is very little snow is that very few cities or counties own snowplows because it’s difficult to justify the expense. On those rare occasions that snow falls, everything comes to a grinding halt. My schedule instantly emptied. Swimming lessons were cancelled. Violin lessons were cancelled. Piano lessons were cancelled. Drum lessons were cancelled. The dishwasher installer phoned to say he couldn’t make it. The streets were impassable, and we enjoyed a peaceful week at home without having to drive anywhere. I loved it.


Not everything was perfect, though.  There’s a huge maple tree in my yard:

A few days after the snowstorm, we got hit with an ice storm.  Freezing rain coated everything.

I’d never seen anything like it.  Never heard anything like it, either.  It was too much for the trees.  All around, it sounded like gunshots as limbs succumbed to the cold and ice, snapping and plummeting to the ground.

The ground shook as our beloved maple lost its battle with the ice.

As we’ve been cleaning up the debris, I’ve been thinking that this storm was a little like receiving an RA diagnosis.  Storms can’t be prevented, and neither can RA.  Suddenly your entire world has changed, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.  We just deal with the storms in our lives, and pick up the pieces so we can move on.

My poor maple tree.  On hot summer days, I’ll miss the shade.  My kids will miss their tire swing.  There’s no point in mourning forever, though.  We could pile everything in a heap and have a big bonfire, but then all we’d have left is a pile of ashes.  What a waste.  Instead, the smaller branches have all been carefully stacked; we’ll use them to heat the pool this summer.  My daughter will turn some of the wood on our lathe, and make beautiful pens – which she hopes to sell to fund a missions trip she wants to take this summer.  The larger limbs have been set aside to season, and will become beautiful salad bowls.  We’ll try to take a disaster and make something beautiful out of it.

I want that in my life, too.  A chronic diagnosis can seem like a disaster.  Maybe there’s a way, though, to pick up the pieces and turn them into something good.