Lessons by a Yellowwood Beam

Every challenge is an opportunity

In life, when we receive seemingly impossible assignments, jobs or tasks we can choose to be very negative and proceed placing ourselves under pressure to complete the job just for the sake of doing it, OR we can look at it as an opportunity to explore a road less travelled.

Having a ‘can-do’ attitude makes any problem shrink significantly. Every problem comes with a promise and a provision attached to it. Do not be discouraged, because all problems are there to overcome and to have victory over.

Visualise the outcome, the end-result and you will receive a plan, a path to follow, how to succeed and obtain victory. We cannot change yesterday, but what we can do is to have an influence on the outcome of the future, based on the impact of the decisions we make today.

I do not have any formal qualifications, but I do have many years’ practical experience. That however does not mean that I never feel challenged.

What I learned from a yellowwood beam server

Neels-Cornellisen

Hortus Wrought Iron’s Workshop Manager and Blacksmith, Neels Cornelissen

I was recently tasked to restore a yellowwood beam and transforming it into a server with metal base legs.1

Once part of a beautiful yellowwood tree, this beam was treated with great care given the beauty and high value of the wood. It received the best treatment and varnish to preserve it for its initial purpose as a roof pillar in an office block. It drew a lot of attention and admiration for its sheer beauty and the purpose it was created for, and was surrounded by laughter, admiration, and good times.

Time however showed the beam that life could be tough and unbearable for those who walk outside of love. It withstood harsh conditions and received layer upon layer of varnish, eventually covered by paint and dirt, causing this once magnificent beam to form an ugly outer appearance.

The beam soon realised that familiarity breeds contempt. Its former beauty was eventually forgotten and left unappreciated. It gained many scars and marks and was immensely damaged.

(This reminded me so much of the human form. How the many stresses and strains over time batters us and leaves deep scars. It does not matter how much we try to cover it up, it is there for life. It is engraved into our bodies and minds as a reminder of the kind of lifestyle we choose).

And so, a day came that the beam was no longer needed: ‘’not good enough’’. ‘’Its time was up.’’ Its initial beauty could not protect it from becoming aged and unwanted. The beam became redundant when the building went through renovations. It was ripped out of the walls that had supported it all those years.

The final rejection was being dumped in a cold storeroom to rot and decay. This once magnificent piece of wood was now confronted by its circumstances and environment. It had lost all its favour and even faced possible fire.

Does this story resonate somehow?

For as long as the presence of greed and self-centeredness exist, people will continue to use and abuse the vulnerable until there is no more use left for them.

Your circumstances became your destiny because you have been living a lie all your life. There are so many voices out there causing us to get lost and confused. This is because we respond to the world, beckoning us with promises that sound (and are) too good to be true.

(This reminded me so much of the human form. How the many stresses and strains over time batters us and leaves deep scars. It does not matter how much we try to cover it up, it is there for life. It is engraved into our bodies and minds as a reminder of the kind of lifestyle we choose).

And so, a day came that the beam was no longer needed: ‘’not good enough’’. ‘’Its time was up.’’ Its initial beauty could not protect it from becoming aged and unwanted. The beam became redundant when the building went through renovations. It was ripped out of the walls that had supported it all those years.

The final rejection was being dumped in a cold storeroom to rot and decay. This once magnificent piece of wood was now confronted by its circumstances and environment. It had lost all its favour and even faced possible fire.

Does this story resonate somehow?

For as long as the presence of greed and self-centeredness exist, people will continue to use and abuse the vulnerable until there is no more use left for them.

Your circumstances became your destiny because you have been living a lie all your life. There are so many voices out there causing us to get lost and confused. This is because we respond to the world, beckoning us with promises that sound (and are) too good to be true.

The process of restoration

A day came when the owner of the beam decided to have another look at it. She found it in a terrible state of destruction. She remembered that this was once a beautiful yellowwood beam and had a vision to restore this lifeless piece of wood into something worthy, useful, and beautiful again.

And so, I was given the opportunity to restore the wood, with an added request not to remove any of its character. The task sounded easy enough. I would sand the beam a little bit with a belt sander and apply two coats of varnish. How difficult could it be?

I soon realised the folly of my thinking.

My vision was to end with a beam with some paint and sections of old varnish to maintain the character.

As metalworkers, we seldomly work with wood ourselves. The one side of the beam was covered in thick layers of paint. I thought that I would merely remove the two ends that were previously surrounded by the walls of the building with a saw, which would then just leave some sanding and sealing to complete the job.

I started by sawing the opposite ends and soon realised there would be massive resistance. This piece of wood was not letting go of what seemingly held it up all those years, without a fight.

I experienced this beam’s emotions and mistrust. I was forced to roll it a couple of times because it was holding onto the saw tightly, almost trembling with fear, not knowing that this painful process was for its own good. It was filled with rejection, anger, and built-up hatred. Finally, the beam lost its grip and both the ends that were causing it so much discomfort, were amputated.

I was amazed by the inner beauty that had been hidden under all that filth. We then commenced with the second phase by belt-sanding the outer layer. The process was hugely messy and the smell from the old layers of paint, varnish and cement was awful.

After about an hour of sanding it almost looked worse, and I knew the fight was not over. Slowly the inner layers were disappearing, increasingly revealing its inner beauty. I knew then that there was no turning back.

The reclaimed yellowwood beam in its new home, serving its brand-new purpose as a server stand.

The reclaimed yellowwood beam in its new home, serving its brand-new purpose as a server stand.

My assistant who was responsible for the sanding and had the privilege of observing the removal of all these layers, later told me that he fell in love with this piece of wood. With the orbital sander he was able to access some lower parts of the shell.

Her beauty unfolded like a flower in the morning sun. This beam was now given permission to enter its new destiny. After sealing the beam with two layers of clear wood sealer, the inner beauty that was there all along, transformed its outward appearance.

It felt like the beam finally trusted me, because we handled it with the greatest respect, love, kindness, and tenderness. It was shaped by our positive and encouraging words, not once reminded of its past.

The beam wondered out loud: ‘’What happened to the envy, jealousy, anger, hatred, self-pity, and self-centeredness that I was filled with?’’

I responded: ‘’I don’t know because I remember it no more.’’

As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we must not allow our past, our current circumstances, and the way that we are used to doing life, determine the altitude of our destiny. You are worth so much more. You have value and a destiny, even if you feel forgotten and left to rot.You are not who man says you are, but who God says you are.

The moment you totally surrender and become a believer and a follower, worshipping Jesus in Spirit and in Truth, He remembers your sins no more. Jesus said that in Hebrews 8:12.

Allow the Holy Spirit to continually transform you into the image and likeness of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s sole purpose is to live out Jesus through you and me.

The transformed yellowwood beam is now proudly displayed as a beautiful server, where it will receive the attention and love that it deserves for the remainder of its days.

HORTUS WROUGHT IRON

Based on Hooggekraal Farm in Durbanville Hills, Hortus Wrought Iron blacksmiths have always focussed their skills on crafting high-quality and aesthetically pleasing wrought iron products.

Our extensive experience enables us to create a unique range of signature products, tailor-made to the exact specifications and requirements of our clients.

If you can envision it, we can most probably make it.

Contact us today for a quote: [email protected]

ABOUT

Our extensive experience enables us to create a unique range of signature products, tailormade to the exact specifications and requirements of our clients. If you can envision it, we can most probably make it.

CONTACT DETAILS

Hoogekraal Farm
Vissershok Road (off N7)
Durbanville Hills 7550

[email protected] (Neels or Rina)

021 972 1062