Dr. Dunbar McCurley is a retired veterinarian who runs the “Country Things” store near Woodville, Mississippi. In the last two decades he has hand-carved nearly 4500 bowls from all types of wood. From Dunbar’s bowls, we can learn a lot about our hearts and about our relationships with others.
In an article by Glynda Phillips in the March/April 2015 edition of Mississippi Farm Country, Dr. McCurley is quoted as saying that the wood from Rock Elm has real character, and therefore makes the prettiest bowls. Blue Poplar has blue, black and purple bands inside, so it runs a close second.
A dentist from the Mississippi Delta brought him a 150-year-old block of heart pine, which had been used to support a barn built in 1870. Dunbar made several bowls from that one. As he held one of the bowls, he pointed out evidence that the tree that wood came from had been injured in a fire when it was young. A second area was proof that the pine was injured again a few years later. But, he said, that is what gave the wood “character.”
Sometimes the “fires” we go through in our lives add character. Looking back, we realize that we have developed into the people we are because of the trouble we've encountered--and conquered.
Dunbar made a very interesting observation: “Some types of wood you wouldn’t dream would be pretty, like camphor or mimosa or chinaberry, are actually very pretty inside. Sometimes a piece of wood is so old you wouldn't think it would have much value, but it will surprise you every time.”
People are just like that, too. Sometimes we look at someone and think that they must not have much value because of the way they look on the outside, or even because of their age. But if we take at peek at what they are like on the inside and get to know them,we very often see something very beautiful. Sometimes, the older they are, the more beauty there is on the inside.
One more thing Dunbar's bowls teach us about our hearts. “Carving bowls has also served as a reminder that appearances can be deceiving,” he emphasizes. “You will look at a block of wood, like camphor, and think it is ugly. But when you open it up, you will see all of the colors and beauty inside. It reminds you that you can't truly appreciate people until you get to know them and what is inside of them.”
Besides the obvious, there is one big difference between our hearts and Dunbar's bowls. We have a choice as to how our hearts are going to turn out.
Sure, the things we go through add character, but beyond that, we are responsible for how pretty our hearts are. Proverbs 4:23 advises, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” (HCSB).
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com