Greetings to all:
Before computers, Ipods, Notebooks, and even television, there was a simple way to entertain ones self. Men and women alike, old or young, didn’t matter, would sit on the front porch and whittle. They would use a small knife which was generally kept very sharp, to peel small slivers of wood off a large branch or board. This wasn’t to create anything for the most part, but a past time to whittle away the day.
Most young people today wouldn’t understand doing something so simple and seemingly unproductive. They would argue, time would be better spent in front of a TV or playing a computer game, something like that, but not whittling. But, it wasn’t just whittling that was the goal; it was also a time of reflection, spending time thinking what it meant to be human, something many of our folks could do a lot more of. It had a practical side as well; it produced shavings for the wood stove to help start a fire for warmth or cooking, or used in the garden as mulch.
For me, whittling has a spiritual element as well; while shaving small slivers from the branch many scriptures come to mind. How we are grafted into the family of God according to Romans eight, and as I remove another sliver, it reminds me we can be broken off as well. Each shaving reminds me of the stripes Christ received for my sins. How each sin is removed one stroke at a time, until a very clean, shinny stick sits where a rough, dirty, swollen branch once was.
You see whittling wasn’t replaced by something better; it was replaced by something that helped us forget about Christ and the Father in heaven. Maybe we all could learn more, if we spent more time whittling. Our minds would be open with hardly any interference at all, and with each stroke of the knife, God could speak to us.