Friday, February 20, 2009

Hidden Wedges by Spencer W. Kimball

I've been going through boxes to see if there is anything in them I am willing to give up or if I can consolidate things better to make more room. I am currently working on my boxes of books. There are some books I am willing to give up but some I would really like to read or just keep around even though I have already read them. I used to collect small books, most of them by Ora Pate Stewart but there were a few others as well. One of them was a book by Spencer W. Kimball called "Hidden Wedges". I'd actually call it a booklet. It's only 24 pages long and since the pages are half the size of most books, it's is even shorter than 24 pages sounds.

I read it back when I bought it but haven't looked at it again since then so this is one of the books I will be giving up. It had a good message in it so I thought I'd share it my favorite parts.

He quotes an article by Samuel T. Whitman:

The ice storm wasn’t generally destructive. True, a few wires came down, and there was a sudden jump in accidents on 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 where they had been lost or abandoned.

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, edge up, 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. A corner of the blade still protruded when he reorganized the yard and left the tree in an out-of-the-way corner. After that, it was forgotten, except at rare intervals. The farmer’s hair turned white. Old age beckoned just around the corner. Grown in and healed over, the wedge , 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.

President Kimball went on to say “Forgotten wedges! Hidden weaknesses grown over and invisible, waiting until some winter night to work their ruin. What better symbolizes the presence and effect of sin in our lives.”

A little later in the book, he quotes Ralph Parlett: “Strength and struggle travel together. The supreme reward of struggle is strength. Life is a battle and the greatest joy is to overcome. The pursuit of easy things makes men weak….”

His book went into more detail about how sin (especially procrastinating repenting from sin) can work its way into our hearts and destroy us and really brought it together with the story of the hidden wedge. It was a short, but good read.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Thanks for sharing. It sounds like a story you'd like (nature). :) I remember that one and it's a good reminder. I love that quote by Parlett too. I copied it to my quote file.

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