The carpenter I hired to help restore my old farmhouse had a pretty rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work in the morning. In the afternoon, his electric saw quit. At the end of the day, his ancient pick-up truck refused to start. As I drove him home, he sat next to me in stony silence.

When we arrived at his house, the carpenter invited me in to meet the family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly in front of a small tree and touched the tips of its branches with both hands. He then opened the door and underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed with smiles, and his voice was filled with laughter. He hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

When my visit was over, the carpenter walked me to my car. When we passed the tree, my curiosity got the better of me. So I asked him about what he had done earlier.

"Oh," the carpenter replied, "that's just my Trouble Tree. I know I can't help having troubles on the job," he continued, "but one thing's for sure--those troubles don't belong in my house. That's why every night when I come home, I just leave them outside by hanging them on the Trouble Tree.

"In the morning when I head off to work, I just pick my troubles up again." Smiling, the carpenter added, "The funny thing is, the troubles I pick up in the morning are not nearly as many as I remember hanging on the tree the night before."
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