The following post was written by Jason Wheeler on Facebook and is shared here with his permission.
This picture is of Annie, taking a little break after casually pushing the tree over…
Really though, what a crazy week we’ve had here. On Tuesday morning, 2,000-plus trees were blown over and uprooted throughout Salt Lake City, with more than 250 trees lost in the cemetery adjacent to our house, and at least a dozen on our street alone… and these are not small trees.
The loss of these magnificent trees, and the resulting extended power outages and damage to property, has been overwhelming to see; however, I’ve also been amazed at the outpouring of service to friends and neighbors as we’ve united together to clear debris from yards and streets.
After months of social distancing, waving through windows, and cautious conversations from opposite sides of the street, there has been something magical and cathartic about working side by side, chainsawing our way through felled trunks, and hauling leaves and branches to the enormous woodpiles that now cover our park strips.
Through this all, I’ve heard many stories of healing, of neighbors who haven’t talked to each other in years starting afresh as they’ve worked together to dig out from the effects of this storm.
As the bishop of our ward, with many elderly church members, it was heartening to see our small youth group meet in force, then cheerfully move from house to house doing for others what they might not be able to do for themselves. To me, this week has served as a reminder of the power that comes from practicing pure and simple love for one another.
Love bridges the chasms sometimes created by differences in cultural practices, political ideologies, educational backgrounds, and life experiences. Rather than tear us apart, let’s allow the winds of the turbulence that we are all living through bring us together.
May we act with kindness and mercy towards all, including those who may think, behave, or look different from us. Let’s let love and compassion govern our thoughts, actions, and conversations. May love ultimately rule the day.