Another marker along the way, Splitting firewood!

My dad and my grandfather both were big believers in hard work, sometimes really hard. My grandaddy grew up on a farm plowing fields with mules and working in a saw mill. My dad was a Navy man and self employed for 40 years after that working hard. One of the chores we had to do as kids was to cut, split and stack firewood. We all partially heated our homes with firewood and my grandaddy would burn a fire when it was 70 outside. So that meant lots of cutting and splitting. Splitting wood became something that I had a love hate relationship with. I love the smell of fresh cut wood, the crack of the maul slamming into a new piece. I hated the stacking and moving. It just never seemed to get done. But splitting wood did alot of things for me. It made me physically strong. I can still swing a maul or hammer for a while before I get worn out. It really made me feel like a man to be able to bust up a large chunk of wood into something that would provide for my family. There's nothing quite like it, the simplicity of that.

A few weeks ago a very large maple tree gave up the ghost in the woods behind my house and fell almost on the back corner of it. Its limbs were precariously close to every window on that side yet nothing broke. The funny thing is there was no storm or wind that day. I came home and there it was laying my yard. I found my newly reconditioned chainsaw and enlisted the help of Brandon Brothers and we began to work on this giant behemoth. Brandon is a college wrestler and budding MMA star and strong as an ox. He was good to have around. After about 5 hours of work we had most of the major limbs off and the trunk cut into workable sections.

Even though we made a sizable dent in the job, I was still left with a considerable task, so every evening I go out in the back yard and toil in the joy of wielding a chain saw and cracking maple logs into burnable pieces.

Little jack is obviously interested, though not quite strong enough yet to be a great help, I still allow him to piddle in the yard with me giving him jobs that sound really important, like fetching my saw files, or rolling the wheel barrow. He loves it. But the other day I bought a new shiny maul. Its basically a big sharp steel wedge on a stick. Its heavy but has a plastic handle so its lighter than my man-killer maul with a solid steel handle.

Jack took up with the new one and asked if he could split some logs. His momma wasn't too keen on the idea, but I looked at this boy desperately wanting to exert his manhood and relented. I found a piece of wood that would split easy enough, taught him some technique, "keep your legs apart, keep your eye on the wood, let the tool do the work, raise it high and let fly!"

He fumbled with it a bit, barely denting the log. But I give credit to him. He wouldn't quit. He kept on, I kept correcting him. I went back to work not standing over him inspecting every move, and every now and again sneaking a peek his way. He just kept hammering away. It was an odd looking ballet him and that tool. It looked more like the maul was swinging him around. Then I heard a sweet sweet sound, "CRACK!" and followed by an "OH YEAH!"

He had actually done it! That log splintered in two halves and flew apart. He stuck out his chest and bowed up. He hollered, "Dad, I did it!" What a cool scene. I high fived him and acted like he was the toughest kid around.

I imagine God is alot like that when he sees us tackle something and succeed. He instructs us on how to do things through His wisdom, encourages us that we can do it, then steps back and allows us many times to be man-handled by our task, but when the "CRACK!" happens and we achieve a measure of success in our walk with Him, I imagine He's quite pleased with all that.

So keep swinging away at whatever you are doing, the "CRACK!" is not far down the road. Listen for Father's encouragement and instruction and be blessed this day.

And then you too can say "Dad, I really did it, just like You taught me!"


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