Posted by: William | June 1, 2008

Splitting Wood

One of my favorite televisions shows is Malcom in the Middle. It went off the air a few years back, but I always record the syndicated airings of it on our DVR box. One of the episodes I watched a few days ago featured the show’s three youngest brothers visiting their oldest brother at a ranch where he works. In the episode, the youngest of the crew, Dewey, is asked by kindly and naive owner’s wife not to touch some antique native American toys. Of course he does anyway and ends up breaking it. The woman is heartbroken and yells at Dewey. Of course, Dewey then feels bad and later goes to apologize to the woman, who then feels bad for yelling at him. She tells him that the best medicine for guilt is to work your body to the bone until you’re sore all over. So, the two of them go off and clean every inch of the ranch until they both feel better.

Of course, we know that the woman’s advice to Dewey is technically bad advice. Working hard is about as good a medicine for guilt as Aspirin is for cancer. But, I think there is a shaft of truth in her sentiments.


I have a small fire pit in my back yard which, a few times a week, friends like to gather a round and enjoy each other’s company. Well, as it is, firewood quickly becomes a pressing commodity. Yesterday, I happened upon a apple tree being cut down, so I collected most of the wood and hauled it off to my house. I ended up with a couple dozen huge sections of freshly cut tree that wasn’t going to season very well in its gigantic condition. So, a friend and I spent a few hours this afternoon splitting wood.

In several hours, we worked through about half of the pile and managed to keep all of our fingers and toes (usually I lose one appendage or another when swinging an axe). I have to say that it’s interesting how similar the feelings are following a strong devotion and swinging a fifteen pound axe for three hours. It sheds experiential light on the old proverb:

“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” (Proverbs 12:14)

I believe I will enjoy this opportunity over the next few days to hack up the rest of this wood and experience what kind of physical and spiritual rewards the work of these hands might bring.



  1. Speaking of splitting wood and appendages, I blogged about my finger splitting back in February.

    I was not a very good splitter and I have a little less pinky to show for it.

  2. Seriously, that story is so gross.

  3. Agreed. Painfully gross… or Grossly painful.

  4. related – malcom in the middle was a great show!

    fairly unrelated (but relevant to random conversations that happen around said fire pit) – not only is there money to be made in blogging, but there are conferences devoted to blogging and the people who do it. blogsphere or blog world or something like that. who would’ve thunk it?!?! The author of a blog I read is trying to be a speaker at this years conference. For some reason I find the thought of it very amusing and thought I would share.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: