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The Willow and the Oak

By Timber Jones

My life has been built on hard times. I am all too familiar with the deep woods of life. Rock bottom is a whole lot further down than some folks think, but for me it was so low that no one could or wanted to reach down to help me anymore. There were many times in my life when I didn’t care if I just laid down and let the bears or coyotes come to take me for theirs. 

But I thrive on the hard times. They are so familiar to me that in a sense I don’t mind them. The first man, a fellow named Adam, was created and placed in a garden. Being in the great out-of-doors is man’s natural setting. Adam had a pretty good set up. Roam the woods, name the creatures, and work the land. But even in this perfect setting, he needed a helper and God knew this very well. 

He knew better for me, too. About 20 years ago I tried to end my life. With a couple of breaths left inside of me, God reached down and put the air back in my lungs. He knew what was waiting for me down the path of my life. He created my life and all that would come into it. 

Like Adam, I needed a helper. If I would just hike a little further over a few more hills and valleys, I would meet the woman He created for me. 

The woman who would become my wife had a special way of dealing with me. She just loved me. That’s not easy to do. I don’t always say the right things. I usually smell like wood smoke. I have a habit of speaking my mind. I am just a bit of a bear to deal with most of the time but with all that being said, she just loves me. 

Every morning she has to wake up to my mug and make the sound decision to love me. I have often said that I am her only flaw. It’s true. She is a good woman who carries her Bible, is a great cook and is an amazing mother. Not to mention she is as foxy as they come! Nobody makes better sweet tea. Her pork tenderloin with apple cider gravy is worthy of a hallelujah!

She is strong. I said before that she was created to be my helper. Not my assistant. Not beneath me. My helper. If you need help lifting something heavy are you going to call upon the weakest person you know? I know that I’m not. My wife, my helper, is strong. I wouldn’t go through this life with a weak woman. She truly is a Proverbs 31 woman. 

Then there is me. Bearded, wood smokey, brash and outspoken. Yet she loves me. She told someone once that she needed to be a willow because she married an oak. 

Every path I took in those deep woods of my life and that I continue to tramp along have always led to her. I thank God for saving me and leading me to her. She has never tried to change me. She just lets me be the man God wants me to be. I come from a long line of tough oaks and when I think about it, all of the men in my family had their own beautiful willow there to love them…wood smoke and all.