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Scars and All (Tremont People)

July 30, 2018

Scars and All


I recently drove along a gravel road that was once a bed for a logging railroad tracks near Townsend, Tennessee. The wooded area called Tremont is beautiful with a stream running through it that jumps from one side of the raised road to the other. I paid my dollar and picked up an auto guide that relayed a story that was difficult to believe.


About 100 years ago about 2/3rds of the present Great Smoky Mountains National Park was clear cut. The pictures are stark and unbelievable. Loggers pulled down the trees, great steam machines loaded massive trunks on box cars and geared steam engines pushed the cars about four or five miles to a sawmill a few hundred yards from my (not five star) motel.


Workers and families lived in 12×12 portable shelters that lined the railroad tracks giving rise to names like Stringtown. They rented for one dollar per month. Erosion ravaged the picked bare mountains and sparks from steam engines ignited forest fires that burned for days or weeks.

Then one day the area became a national park. The loggers left, the hotel closed; the saw-mill cut its last board in 1938.  It was a veritable disaster.


Then there was a long slumber as the land was given time to heal. Decade after decade the land healed. Now some 75 years later, you would never believe the desolation that now can only be verified by photographs and scars barely discernible if you know where to look: A pipe just rising above the ground here; a braided metal wire there buried in a tree with its origin in a rock. The casual observer would not see these scars, they would see only splendor. These mountains are healed.


I know a lot of Tremont people.  They are people with old scars and deep pain that have somehow healed, mended and soften over time. To look at these folks today, their lives would not even hint of their troubled pasts for they have become pristine, beautiful and again made whole.


Healing a person, like healing a forest takes time, intentionality and care. Such healings are compelling testimony to a loving and restoring God.


That is why our personal stories of restoration and healing must be shared…scars and all.


-From “Love God. Love People. Don’t Do Dumb Crap.”


-Rev. Shane L. Bishop has been the Sr. Pastor at Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997

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