Many years ago Peter & Rebekah moved to the mountains. They were young and their children were young. They bought a log cabin on a lake. The street on which they lived was not paved. They had no phone and no house number. The town was small and had no traffic lights. Someone driving by their house was a rare event. In fact, it was so rare that Peter at times ran into the street and waved motorists down. Peter has always been very fond of people. He wanted folks to come in and visit, see the crafts they were doing and hear their stories. And he was always eager to teach anyone who wanted to learn the craft of making sandblasted signs.
Peter & Rebekah planted a bunch of poplar trees by the road. The trees grew and so did their children. The children grew tall and so did the trees. The children moved away but the trees stayed put. They served as sentinels, shielding the log cabin from all who did not belong. Eventually the street was paved, a house number was assigned, more homes skirted the lake and a phone connected Peter & Rebekah with the rest of the world.
And then came the first traffic light in town and then a second and then a third and so on. Fast food restaurants claimed their favorite corners and “big box stores” discovered Pagosa Springs, Colorado. One doctor and two dentists took care of all healthcare needs. The closest hospital was in Durango, sixty miles west of Pagosa Springs. But believe it or not, there was a new car dealership in town; and with the help of a friend, Peter & Rebekah bought their first new car, a 1986 Chevy Caprice. It served them well for many years.
Peter & Rebekah created a place on the lake where folks could come and just sit on a bench, talk to God and get restored. And those who wanted to stay a few nights were ushered into “The Upper Room” – affectionately called by a visitor, the Rocking Chair of God’s Heart. Click on the bench to learn more about “The Upper Room.” It’s a hiding place for those who are hurting and broken-hearted. It has become a blueprint and inspiration for visitors. There is now an off-shoot of the hiding place in Moravian Falls, North Carolina.
But what about “My Happy Tree?” Why does Peter call it that?” Poplar trees don’t have a very long life, at least not the ones Peter & Rebekah planted. The trees became threadbare and unsightly after 30 plus years. Some of the branches died. Others arched over the street where they were not welcome. Something needed to be done. A woodsman with a chainsaw came. He and his wife Hollye had come from Portalis, New Mexico to sit on the bench and tune in to God’s still small voice.
On the first day Marsh and Hollye were here it rained. On the second day they were here it rained. But by the third day the weather had cleared and Marsh was ready to dramatically alter the landscape in the front yard. But the day before Peter saw a picture in his mind’s eye. It was in the nick of time. It happened as he walked to the mailbox just up the street. As Peter was passing the trees, pondering their fate, he saw one of them as a man with both arms raised to heaven, praising his Creator–God.
Peter now knew what needed to happen and instructed Marsh accordingly. It took a bit of extra effort and skill to convert a nearly dead tree into a tree with new purpose. The tree got a new lease on life. Instead of Peter stopping traffic and inviting folks to come in and sample the hospitality of their home, the tree now has that job twenty hours a day, seven days a week. And if the tree could speak, it would say, “Thank you God, thank you woodsman, thank you Peter for giving me a new lease on life, a new heart and a new purpose for living. I love my new job. I love putting smiles on people’s faces and directing folks to the front door of Peter & Rebekah’s log cabin. I never tire of praising my God.”
The woodsman and his wife are gone, but their footprints remain. Hollye donated her red work gloves to the sculpture. A rock with a yellow safety hat simulates the face of a man; and cradled between the two branches is a sandblasted sign crafted by friend Glenn many years ago, just waiting for its place of honor. It reads:
In the picture son John stands next to his Dad, hammer in hand. John had just secured a red heart on the tree. It’s a miracle heart, conceived in a most unusual manner in the nick of time.
the significance of the arrowed signs was placed in a box for anyone to pick up and read. We all marveled at the way things came together so easily. A number of different players were called into action. All arrived on the scene at the perfect moment and played their part flawlessly.
According to friend Gary, it reminded him of the heart the tin man in the Wizard of Oz so desperately needed. We all do!
John’s wife Lisa had spontaneously offered this bit of advice, “What the tree is lacking is a red heart.” It sounded like a good idea; but where does someone come up with a red heart so quickly? Unbeknown to Peter, who did not take the suggestion seriously, Lisa and family scoured the town for a red heart and came up empty-handed. And then Peter received a phone call from friend Gary. Gary said, “I had a dream last night. What the tree needs is a red heart.” Those words were enough to move Peter and son John into action.
Peter told John. Together they scoured the garage for a piece of wood and some red paint. A scroll saw was waiting for them that made the job simple. Within an hour John was ready to mount the heart while John’s son Ian documented the installation with his cell phone camera. Click on the picture of Lisa applying a coat of red paint.
In quick succession, a prayer bench was placed next to the tree and a fitting prayer was placed in a Ziploc bag and attached to the tree. Do click on the prayer. You will be surprised and blessed. A booklet explaining
A few folks have already stopped, looked and smiled. Some have taken pictures. Peter has offered this challenge, “If My Happy Tree does not put a smile on your face, lunch is on me.”