This morning, I was cutting down some trees that had grown up next to the old farm house. I didn’t pay much attention to what I was cutting. There were some thorns, but I assumed they were just from a wild bush that had grown up around the trees. When I cut one of the smaller trees with my chain saw, a branch slammed into my arm. I looked down and saw that a thorn had been rammed deep into my forearm.
I turned off my chainsaw and pulled the long thorn out with my teeth. Blood started coming out, and I washed the wound, wiped it with antiseptic wipes, and started listening to the negative thoughts. “Why are you doing this? It’s too dangerous? What if you got seriously hurt? What kind of an evil tree is that thing? The very first job I do on the farm, and I get hurt like this. It’s a bad sign…”
But as the bleeding stopped, I decided to just get back to work and something struck me. The thorns looked like what they must have used to make the crown for Jesus. I thought about them sinking that thing onto His head and Him, just bearing it. God of creation letting his creation impale him with thorns. As a Catholic, I know I can attach my own sufferings to those of Christ, and I felt honored at that moment to be able to share in a similar way that Jesus had suffered. I asked that my pain might help alleviate some of His. Maybe it’s not necessary. I’m sure that sounds strange to most of my protestant or non-Christian readers, but to me, it’s a close connection to God.
After finishing my tree cutting job, I did some research on the tree that had grown such horrible thorns. Turns out, it is an amazing tree called the Osage Orange, or Hedge Apple. Before barbed wire was invented, people planted it in rows to form fences. The seeds inside the fruit on the tree is actually edible and some people keep it around because it repels spiders and insects. In some cases, it’s been shown as effective as DEET. Additionally, the wood from the tree is used as fence posts because it doesn’t rot. One source says it’s even better than pressure treated lumber. And, finally, bow makers believe it to be the best wood in the world to make bows!
I doubt I would ever have known anything about the tree if it hadn’t impaled my arm. Now, I will be on the lookout for the Osage Orange on the farm. It has certainly garnered my respect now. My arm is really sore as I write this, but maybe the pain was worth the gain.