The brilliant summer sun poured its liquid heat on the windswept island of the Caribbean paradise as the old village sculptor made his way to his humble home outside the village center. On his way he passed by the great white mansion of the plantation owner who, with his field workers, was felling one of the age-old trees that for generations had provided protection from the scorching sun.
The old sculptor suddenly stopped and, with a twinkle in his eyes, called over the wall with a note of interest, “What will you do with those discarded stumps of wood?”
The owner replied, “These are good for nothing but firewood. I have no use for this junk.”
The old sculptor begged for a piece of the “junk” wood and with care lifted the knotted tree trunk to his shoulders. With a smile of gratitude, he staggered into the distance carrying his burdensome treasure.
After entering his cottage, the old man placed the jagged piece of tree in the center of the floor. Then, in a seemingly mysterious and ceremonious manner, he walked around what the plantation owner had called “useless junk.” As the old man picked up his hammer and chisel, a strange smile pierced his leathered face. Attacking the wood, he worked as though under a mandate to set something free from the gnarled, weathered trunk.
The following morning, the sun found the sculptor asleep on the floor of his cottage, clutching a beautifully sculptured bird. He had freed the bird from the bondage of the junk wood.
Later he placed the bird on the railing of his front porch and forgot it. Weeks later the plantation owner came by to visit. When he saw the bird, he asked to buy it—offering whatever price the sculptor might name. Satisfied that he had made an excellent bargain, the gentleman walked away, hugging to his breast with great pride the newly acquired treasure.
The old sculptor, sitting on the steps of his simple cottage, counted his spoil and thought, “Junk is in the eyes of the beholder. Some look, but others see.”
Today there are many individuals whose lives are like the old tree. Trapped within them is a beautiful bird of potential that may never fly. Society, like the plantation owner, sees nothing in them but a useless, worthless person on his way to the garbage heap of life. But we must remember that one man’s junk is another man’s jewel.
Story narrated: Dr Myles Monroe