Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thin or Thick Skinned

I was out patching a tree that someone, (not going to mention who but he's almost fourteen and should know better than to drive the mower as fast as it will go when mowing!), skinned when he got too close to it as he was mowing.  He skinned it up pretty badly but I think it will be ok because it's several years old. 

I first put that black tarry patch stuff on under the bark that he skinned off.  I'll trim the bark off after the black stuff dries and forms a protective seal.  Then, I wrapped under the bark around the tree some fabric wrap that will glue to the black stuff and form a bandaid of sorts.  This tree has really thin skin or bark because it's a maple and they usually do.  The bark is smooth and easily torn by things like mowers and fourteen year old, out of control boys. 

As I was patching, I began to think about being thin skinned or thick skinned.  What would someone describe me as being?  Do I get upset at silly little remarks that someone makes?  Does it really matter to me what people who don't know me think?  I had to answer that, yes, sometimes it does.  It occured to me a couple of years ago, that oftentimes the things that upset me the most were little comments that were probably meant as a joke, not meant to hurt at all.  I vowed to always try to take those remarks, not as they sounded, but rather, as I thought the person wanted them to sound.  I try to look at the person's heart instead of what may come out of the mouth because sometimes, even I, can't quite get my point across.  I wonder how many hurt feelings I have caused over the years because something I said was taken in the wrong context. 

In the bible, the tongue is described as a two-edged sword.  Able to do damage going and coming.  Sometimes, I let my sword get out of control and I need to show grace to others who do the same. If my son had hit an older, more established and different species of tree, there wouldn't have been much damage.  Maybe I need to become more like the old, ragged, hackberry in the yard.  An ice storm a few years ago took out half the tree but it's still standing and doing well.   It may not be the most beautiful tree in the yard, but it still holds my favorite swing and is most importantly, still standing and going strong!

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