Forgotten Wedges

I want to share part of a talk given by Spencer W. Kimball in April 1966.
“There came to my mind an article by Samuel T. Whitman entitled “Forgotten Wedges.”
I had learned to use wedges when I was a lad in Arizona, it being my duty to supply wood for many fires in the big house. May I quote Whitman:

The Iron Wedge

“The ice storm wasn’t generally destructive. True, a few wires came down, and there was a sudden jump in accidents along the highway. Walking out of doors became unpleasant and difficult. It was disagreeable weather, but it was not serious. Normally, the big walnut tree could easily have borne the weight that formed on its spreading limbs. It was the iron wedge in its heart that caused the damage.
“The story of the iron wedge began years ago when the white-haired farmer was a lad on his father’s home- stead. The sawmill had then only recently been moved from the valley, and the settlers were still finding tools and odd pieces of equipment scattered about. . . .
“On this particular day, it was a faller’s wedge; — wide, flat, and heavy, a foot or more long, and splayed from mighty poundings. The path from the south pasture did not pass the wood- shed; and, because he was already late for dinner, the lad laid the wedge . . . between the limbs of the young walnut tree his father had planted near the front gate. He would take the wedge to the shed right after dinner, or sometime when he was going that way.
“He truly meant to, but he never did. It was there between the limbs, a little tight, when he attained his manhood. It was there, now firmly gripped, when he married and took over his father’s farm. It was half grown over on the day the threshing crew ate dinner under the tree. . . . Grown in and healed over, the wedge was still in the tree the winter the ice storm came.
“In the chill silence of that wintry night, with the mist like rain sifting down and freezing where it fell, one of the three major limbs split away from the trunk and crashed to the ground. This so unbalanced the remainder of the top that it, too, split apart and went down. When the storm was over, not a twig of the once proud tree remained.
“Early the next morning, the farmer went out to mourn his loss.
‘Wouldn’t have had that happen for a thousand dollars,’ he said.
‘Prettiest tree in the valley, that was.’
“Then, his eyes caught sight of something in the splintered ruin. ‘The wedge,’ he muttered reproachfully.
‘The wedge I found in the south pasture.’ A glance told him why the tree had fallen. Growing edge-up in the trunk, the wedge had prevented the limb fibers from knitting together as they should.”
𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒐𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆𝒔!
Hidden weaknesses grown over and invisible, waiting until some winter night to work their ruin.
What better symbolizes the presence and the effect of sin in our lives?
This brings to my memory some verses I heard long years ago entitled:
𝐉𝐢𝐦 𝐃𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲
Around the corner I have a friend, In this great city which has no end;
Yet, days go by and weeks rush on, And before I know it a year has gone.
And I never see my old friend’s face; For life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine.
We were younger then
And now we are busy tired men —
Tired with playing the foolish game; Tired with trying to make a name;
Tomorrow, I say, I will call on Jim, Just to show I’m thinking of him.
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes;
And the distance between us grows and grows
Around the corner! Yet miles away — Here’s a telegram, sir — “Jim died today!”
And that’s what we get — and deserve
in the end — Around the corner, a vanished friend.
Finally, I’d like to quote more lines from Whitman:
“Pride, envy, selfishness, dishonesty, intemperance, doubt, secret passions — almost numberless in variety and degree are the wedges of sin. And alas! almost numberless are the men and women who today are allowing sin to grow in the heart wood of their lives.
“The wedge is there. We know it is there. We put it there ourselves one day, when we were hurried and thoughtless. It shouldn’t be there, of course. It is harming the tree. But we are busy so we leave it there; and in time, it grows over and we forget. The years slip swiftly by. Wintertime comes with its storms and ice. The life we prized so much goes down in the unspeakable loss of spiritual disaster. For years after the wedge had grown over, the tree flourished and gave no sign of its inner weakness. Thus it is with sin.”
I commend the Spencer W. Kimball talk to you. Why not look it up?
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞(𝐬) 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞?