Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

July 12, 2017

Not long ago I ran across a poem that haunted me. It still does. See if it haunts you too:

The house was built in ’98,

            prior to my arrival.


And a big maple tree at the corner of the


was run over and buried lots of time by


moving in materials to build the house.


And the other maples what Daddy had


they had no trouble at all.


But they all died and this one lived that

            had such rough treatment.


And there’s a saying

“Rough weather makes good timber.”


It may be

that the trouble with folks today

is that they’re raised like hothouse



and they don’t have much to go on

at the end.


(The Wisdom of Stability, Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove, p. 106)

            I’ve read over this poem several times. I have stewed and simmered over the verses.

            What happens to folks who are raised like hothouse flowers? What happens to folks who are coddled, fed with silver spoons, pampered, kept cloistered, sheltered and prevented from stumbling?

            If the poem is correct, I’m guessin’ they don’t have much to go on. How can we become adept at the art of recovery if we never have to and/or if others are doing the heavy lifting for us?

            How can we feel empathy for others if we’ve been kept perpetually in bubble wrap?   What happens to us when storms come and we have never been taught how to prepare for them or weather them once we’re caught in one of them?

            I am guessin’ there’s not much to go on.

            Years ago, when they still taught wood shop in high school, I was turning some walnut on a lathe to make a bowl. Evidently, I was turning the wood too fast because the walnut shattered and fragments flew everywhere off the lathe.

            I was heartbroken. I’d saved that walnut from a tree on the farm that lightening had struck and killed.   I’d cured the wood in the summer heat up in a hayloft in the top of the barn.

            My shop teacher came to the rescue with some special carpenter glue and clamps.   He told me that all was not lost.

            Recovery was possible.  I could glue and clamp this walnut; and, the fractures would then become the strongest part of the bowl.

            He was right. I glued and clamped and lathed. My mother got that walnut bowl for Mother’s Day.

            So, what happens when life is lived like hothouse flowers. I’m guessin’ there’s not much to go on.

            But, outside the hothouse, my Bible tells me, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power (Ephesians 6:10 NIV).”

            Those scars and wounds you are carrying, they are the strongest part of you.   They’ve been welded back together by the strength of the Lord who will never leave nor forsake.

All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
Empty handed
But not forsaken
I’ve been set free

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord
I’ll be Your vessel
The world to see
Your life in me

(Broken Vessels, Hillsong, 2011)

            Rough weather makes good timber! Scars from recovery are the strongest parts of us!

            Storms build strong hearts. Compassion is birthed from ash.



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