Sometime in the fall of 2018, Mike Fischer approached me with a proposal. He said, “I’ve got five to seven big trees on my property that need to be split for firewood. I’d like to donate all of it to Tucker Lodge. Let’s get a group together to knock it out on a Saturday.” My thought was, “How can we can make this day about more than splitting wood?” With the help of leadership from one of our ministry partners, Restoration Project, we crafted an intentional experience for the fathers and sons seen in the photo to the right. S
We showed up early Saturday morning, December 1st, at the Fischer’s, then drove to the backside of their property to the trees we were to cut and split. Some of us got lost on the short trip down the backroads of Saline County. Some of us didn’t have four-wheel drive, and couldn’t make the trip up the muddy hill to our work location.
By the time we all made it to the trees, everyone was so antsy to sling sawdust that we had all scattered. Some were setting up an axe throwing target for play. Some were playing mechanic on a dysfunctional hydraulic splitter. Others had fired up their chainsaws to cut up several trees over a hill that was 150 yards away.
I realized we had all gone to default mode. As men, we are wired to work and any time we have an opportunity to do work that involves sawdust, we get really excited! By ten am, we had regrouped and recalibrated. It was then that we set the tone for the day. The trees were a mechanism for building relationships.
We all threw our names into a hat, and the man whose name you drew was the one you were to partner with by observing, asking questions about their story, and seeking an opportunity to speak blessing into their life. Cutting and splitting wood was easy and fun. Breaking through the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time and seeking to bless that man was a real challenge. But everyone was game! It was quite a sight to see men teaching boys how to split wood…younger men introducing themselves to older…and all men and boys working together as a family.
When you see the massive wall of firewood stacked by the parking lot at Tucker Lodge, remember the Fischers and this group of men. Enjoy! – NATE HALL