There was a time in my life when hate came easy. I wanted others to hurt. Why? Because deep inside I hurt. I wanted others to be broken. Why? Because I was broken. Was it wrong of me to want others to feel the pain that I felt? Why should I be the only one to hurt? I didn’t ask for the pain…the abuse. Why should I be the only recipient of this hate? Where is my sunshine? Where is my rainbow? When will the is storm end?
12 years that storm rained on me. My spirit was broken. I had no will. I knew what the weather was going to be; rain, with fists of hail beating down on me, thunderous slanders of hate thrown with lightening. Everyday brought the question of “How soon until my first beating?” It was easy to be a weatherman in my world. 12 long years. What fills the eyes, fills the soul. 12 years of abuse filled my soul. We all have a “give a hoot” meter. It’s that meter that shows how much we care. Mine was broken. It always read empty. At the age of 15 I was kicked out of the house and forced to live with my grandparents. I became their problem.
My grandfather adopted me and I grew up calling him Dad. He knew I had a lot of hate I had to work out. He could see I was a ticking time bomb. On the farm there was one chore he made sure I had, chopping wood. I got good at splitting oak wood. A boy can take a lot of hate out on oak. I had plenty to spare and showed no signs of running out. I treated my adopted parent with respect. After all, I had no reason to show otherwise. One day I came home from school and got my splitting maul and wedges and went out back to start my chores. There was a new type of wood piled up. It had bark similar to oak but was a lot darker. My dad came out and said “That’s blackjack. It’s not going to be easy to split. Have fun.” With that he went inside. At the time I weighed 140lbs soaking wet. Give me job to do and I’d do it.
When splitting a black jack log stand the log on it’s flat end and on the face that is up, locate the center star. It looks like a star-ish shaped hole. Place a wedge center between the star and log edge, making sure it’s in tandem with one of the stars legs. Hammer it in. Repeat those steps across from your first wedge. Now that you have successfully buried both of your wedges, flip the log over. Now, take your last wedge and place it on the star. make sure that your wedge is running in the same direction as the other wedges. Now bury it too. Now flip the log back over. Now that you have successfully lost all of your wedges to one block of wood it’s time to use some of that rage. Locate the star that is in center. Insure that your splitting maul and wedges are going in the same direction. Unleash rage without expletives. We don’t need to get in trouble for our mouth. As you pull the wood apart you will notice that the grains of the wood is crooked and rough, not straight and smooth like traditional oak or pine. Now that you have it split in half, quarter it. And this completes your first piece. There was a whole tree that needs to be split and stored. I believe it took me 3 weeks to split it all. Needless to say I unleashed a lot of rage and anger.
I’m not going to say that splitting that blackjack eliminated all of my rage, but it helped. Every night I came in soaking wet and tired. I’d shower up and quietly eat my supper. I was too tired to cause any trouble. I had no hate left for that day. Hard work make an honest man. Truer words were never spoken for me. I learned a lot on that farm. Things that aren’t taught in any school or in any books. I learned the meaning of life.
These days, I’m a lot happier. I want people to be happy, because I’m happy. I want to help others, because I was helped. I still have my rage. But, like everything else I manage it. I have been known to serve it with some humble pie when people get disorderly. But mostly, it’s reserved for working out. Everything has a practical use if applied correctly.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and may we always have the strength to weather the storm. (even if it takes 12 years)