My former neighbor, Mr. Campbell, loves to whittle. He has an amazing talent for taking the nothingness of a stick and turning it into something special. Shortly after the first Christmas of our daughter, Tristen, I was dragging the Christmas tree to our back yard for disposal.
Mr. Campbell saw what I was doing and asked if he could have the tree. It had no more value to me, so I gave it to him, though I was unsure of his intentions. After a while, I had forgotten he took our tree.
One year later
The following Christmas, Mr. Campbell knocked on our door. To my surprise, he was standing there with a beautiful hand carved walking stick, about the size and shape of a baseball bat. (See the stick at the end of this piece.) At the top of the stick was a wonderfully detailed carving of Santa’s head. On the side of the stick were these words:
Tristen’s Very First Christmas Tree, 2001
Mr. Campbell took our used and useless tree and carved a beautiful walking stick to commemorate our daughter’s first Christmas. We were humbly surprised with what he accomplished. Mr. Campbell said,
I went down to the creek and sat on my bench. Then I began to ask, “What is inside this tree?” So, I sat and started whittling. This is what I found inside your tree.
He took off some good wood and some knotted wood.
He kept cutting until he came to what he was hoping to find.
The discovery inside our useless tree was a treasure nobody else could see. I did not see it. My wife did not see it. Tristen did not see it. Only the master craftsman had a vision of what it could be.
After months of curing the tree in the heat of the summer and a few days of carving through the fall, Mr. Campbell unveiled the treasure that was previously hidden.
The process was long and hard, but the woodcarver knew what he wanted and he had the skill and patience to bring it to pass.
Whittled down to size
There are no good analogies for what Job experienced in the final chapter that documents his journey. My tree story is a small attempt to convey a big...Read