We’re on our way home from the west coast of California heading inland from Crescent City, across the border into Oregon and connecting with the I-5 highway at Grant’s Pass. It’s raining and the road is winding, has been for a long time, when suddenly we come across this funky place on the side of the road with signs saying, “It’s a Burl” and ‘Burl-esque’. We’re stiff and cramped from hours of driving so I slam the brakes, make a U-turn, and park beside a large puddle…. “Let’s check this out.”
What we discover is amazing. This is no scrapyard but a revelation of extraordinary craftsmanship where a myriad of pieces carved from burls are displayed. They range from small items to chairs and tables, even the bicycles I photographed and pasted here for you to enjoy. The creativity and skill was obvious as an imaginative eye mixed and matched unique shapes and sizes into functional and beautiful works of art that were ‘one of a kind’. It was so unexpected, unconventional, and lots of fun. Many burls crafted together to create more than what one could be.
This is how someone who knows about these things describes burls. Burls are irregular growths on trees, usually caused by stress, insects or fungus. The grain inside a burl is irregular and has very unique and intricate patterns. Burls are also quite rare and this makes them highly prized by craftspeople and artists. Each carved piece is unique from the next. Exact reproductions would be impossible to produce.
Upon reflection it was as if we’d stumbled upon God’s workshop, or perhaps a visual representation of what ‘church’ could be. I don’t know about you (actually I do), but life seems to have the ability to reduce many parts of us to appear to be nothing but ‘irregular growths’ – caused by stress (insecurity/worry), insects (negative thoughts/attitudes), and fungus (old habits that persist and hang on). We become disheartened and discouraged, viewing ourselves from the outside, perceiving little but the ‘disfigurement’ that overshadows any positive attributes; too bad eh?
The good news is that when a master craftsmen gets a burl in his hands he knows that the value and beauty is inside merely waiting to be released and exposed. Instead of the insects and fungus destroying he transforms the ‘damage’ into exquisite art that people will pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to purchase. If you want to see more examples go to their website and view for yourself – http://www.itsaburl.com.
Imagine what more God the Father can do with you and me and us…. if we invite him to work on the burls within that cause us to believe the lie that we are useless, or unattractive, or ‘less than’.
God’s not a one trick pony… He is able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine…