Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Forgotten Wedges

In 1970, while serving as a 19 year old missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I first heard this story retold by President Spencer W. Kimball, then an Apostle in the church.

It touched my young heart in many ways and I have never forgotten it.  It was written by Samuel T. Whitman.

"Forgotten wedges"

"The ice storm wasn't generally destructive. True, a few wires came down, and there was a sudden jump in accidents along the highway. Walking out of doors became unpleasant and difficult. It was disagreeable weather, but it was not serious. Normally, the big walnut tree could easily have borne the weight that formed on its spreading limbs. It was the iron wedge in its heart that caused the damage.

"The story of the iron wedge began years ago when the white-haired farmer was a lad on his father's homestead. The sawmill had then only recently been moved from the valley, and the settlers were still finding tools and odd pieces of equipment scattered about . . .

"On this particular day, it was a faller's wedge—wide, flat, and heavy, a foot or more long, and splayed from mighty poundings. The path from the south pasture did not pass the woodshed; and, because he was already late for dinner, the lad laid the wedge . . . between the limbs of the young walnut tree his father had planted near the front gate. He would take the wedge to the shed right after dinner, or sometime when he was going that way.

"He truly meant to, but he never did. It was there between the limbs, a little tight, when he attained his manhood. It was there, now firmly gripped, when he married and took over his father's farm. It was half grown over on the day the threshing crew ate dinner under the tree . . . Grown in and healed over, the wedge was still in the tree the winter the ice storm came.

"In the chill silence of that wintry night, with the mist like rain sifting down and freezing where it fell, one of the three major limbs split away from the trunk and crashed to the ground. This so unbalanced the remainder of the top that it, too, split apart and went down. When the storm was over, not a twig of the once-proud tree remained.

"Early the next morning, the farmer went out to mourn his loss. 'Wouldn't have had that happen for a thousand dollars,' he said. 'Prettiest tree in the valley, that was.'

"Then, his eyes caught sight of something in the splintered ruin. 'The wedge,' he muttered reproachfully.

'The wedge I found in the south pasture.' A glance told him why the tree had fallen. Growing edge-up in the trunk, the wedge had prevented the limb fibers from knitting together as they should."

We all have wedges in our lives, we all have things that we plan to fix tomorrow.  Wedges that we plan to put away in the woodshed next time we pass that way.  The fact is, if we are going to make changes in our lives we have to do it deliberately, consciously, not just when we are going that way.

it is the same with self-reliance.  President Packer said, "Things that don't change, stay the same."  if you are not being successful in becoming self-reliant, it is time to start changing some things.  Take your situation to Heavenly Father in prayer and tell him what you are doing, what you are thinking of changing and ask for his guidance.  Then take time to listen before you get off your knees.  This is a process so be patient and work hard.  You will be blessed.

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