By Chen Xin
Every time I thought of my hometown, what first came to me was the mountain chain behind my house. On it there was a verdant wood, trees and hedgerows, and all sorts of strange rocks, and the intoxicating perfumes that all kinds of trees shed. This wood was my only paradise of childhood. However, my family always exhorted me not to play in the varnish trees woods behind our house. I was very confused about it and curiously asked my mother why. As I asked her again and again, she told me the reasons.
It turned out that the resin of the varnish tree can be used in making lacquer, which can be used to paint the furniture and coffin, and is water-proof, durable and expensive. What’s more, the seed of varnish trees can produce edible oil. Though the rate of producing oil is low, the oil made from it can prevent stomach cancer. Therefore, it is worth much and also brings our life a lot of help and benefits. Even so, people very rarely dare approach varnish trees, because the delicate fragrance they give out is allergizing and can cause skin rashes, making people unbearable itching all over. In serious cases, the skin would be inflamed, red and swollen. Even though after injections and medication, the rash won’t clear up until several days later. The wonderful thing is that there is also a kind of stunted tree, cork tree, on the mountain. When someone has a skin allergy, as long as he bathes himself with the water in which he boils its branches, he will recover. In this way he can achieve a faster result than by taking medicine. Because people will feel very uncomfortable once they have this kind of rash, many of them don’t dare approach this woods of varnish trees. It seems that the varnish tree is mentioned with horror. This is the reason that parents don’t allow their children to play in the woods of varnish trees.
I remembered when I was young, my parents often told me I should not touch or approach varnish trees, because this kind of trees could cause the skin break into rash and make people very uncomfortable. Even injections and taking medicine wouldn’t work. I asked them in confusion, “Is that really so serious?” Seeing me obstinate, my parents urged me again and again. At that time, I only listened to these words doubtingly and forgot them soon.
Soon, someone asked my grandfather to make a few catties of lacquer for him to paint a coffin. Led along by my curiosity, I secretly followed my grandfather into the wood of varnish trees. I was wondering whether severe skin rashes could occur with contact with the raw sap, and even more I wanted to see how my grandfather tapped varnish trees. Soon, he found me and nervously urged me to go back quickly. I shook my head stubbornly and rolled up my sleeves to show him that I didn’t have any rash. Seeing me like this, he shook his head helplessly and went to do his own work. He made T-shaped gashes in the branches of varnish trees and then the milky juice flowed out, and when it flowed into his bucket, it turned black. Regardless, he didn’t allow me to approach the varnish trees. When I came back home with him, seeing my body was no eruption, I was secretly very pleased and said to my mother, “I don’t fear the varnish tree. Look, I don’t have a skin allergy.” However, not long after I went to bed, I began to itch all over, which made me so uncomfortable that I cried. Then flashing a light, my father had to go behind our house at midnight to break some branches of cork tree and boiled them. After I bathed myself with the water that he boiled them with, I didn’t itch gradually. However, there were still many red spots and some scratches on my body; my face puffed up, to the extent that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
After the rash disappeared, I discussed with my friends, “What kind of tree’s function is more powerful?” Some of them said, “The varnish tree’s function is more powerful. People all dare approach it.” The others said, “I feel it should be the cork tree. It can cure the rashes caused by the varnish tree.” There were more people that agreed on the first opinion, including me. We felt, “Varnish trees are large and tall, covered with rich leaves. The seed of them can not only be sold, but can produce edible oil. The sap within them can be used in making lacquer to paint the furniture. Therefore, the varnish tree’s function is more powerful.” Some others said, “Though the cork tree is small and short, its function is more powerful than the varnish tree’s. If we have rashes caused by the varnish tree, only when we use the water that we boil the branches of the cork tree with to bathe ourselves, will we get better faster. So the cork tree’s function is more powerful.”
In the end, none could bring the others around. I still thought in my heart that the varnish tree’s function was more powerful because it not only brought us a lot of help and benefits, but terrified many people. I also heard a story from my grandfather: Before liberation, when bandits came into the village to rob the villagers, the villagers hid themselves in the wood of varnish trees with their grain and things of value. They wore hats made of branches of cork tree to prevent the skin rashes, but the bandits didn’t dare come in for fear they would have rashes. After the bandits left, the villagers got out and came back home in safety. In the turbulent years, this wood of varnish trees silently kept people safe in this way. After I told this story to my friends, they all praised the varnish tree by saying its function was really powerful.
After I returned home, I told this to my mother, and wanted to know her views on whether the function of the varnish tree or the cork tree was more powerful. She said: “Aren’t you borrowing trouble? They both grow from the soil and have their respective uses. Just study hard. You will know the answer when you’re older.” Afterward, when I was at school, in a biology class, I asked my teacher, “What’s the difference in value between the varnish tree and the cork tree? What kind of tree is worth more?” But he failed to say anything significant.
As I grew older, that unsolvable mystery still haunted me. Therefore, I wanted to try and know why the varnish tree could make people have sores once people touched it and how powerful its function was.
In my senior year in middle school, when I herded the cattle on the hillside, I saw some adults picking the seeds of varnish trees with a knife tied to a long pole in order to sell them for cash. I felt it was too troublesome, and then I climbed up the varnish trees, picked many seeds with my hands, filled my basket quite full and took it home. After they knew what I had done, my parents jumped all over me, saying I was already that big, but I was still disobedient and that I would pay for my disobedience, and even they didn’t want the seeds I took home and the rest I had left in the woods of varnish trees. At that time, I was very angry and thought what I had done was in vain. As a matter of course, I tasted how powerful the varnish tree’s function was. At the beginning, my hands and face itched, and then I itched all over. No matter how I bathed myself with salted water, it didn’t help at all; applying some ointment didn’t work, either. Finally, my mother cut down some branches of cork trees, boiled them and asked me to use the water in which she boiled them to bathe. After I did that many times, I gradually felt better and the scars didn’t disappear until a long time. During this painful process, I experienced the varnish tree and the cork tree restricted one another, that they had their respective function, and that neither of them is more powerful than one another. Then I wondered, “Who gave them respective function and made them restrict one another?” Later, I accepted God’s gospel and read God’s words. Only then did I know the mysteries contained within.
God says, “God created the rules that govern all things so that they may exist in an interconnected and interdependent way; every single thing He created has value and significance. If God created something without significance, God would let it disappear. … Speaking of the larger environment, God made all things interconnected, mutually intertwined, and interdependent. He used this method and these rules to maintain the survival and existence of all things and in this way mankind has lived quietly and peacefully and has grown and multiplied from one generation to the next in this living environment up to the present day.” “God created many things among all things—He created things that are fixed, things that move, things that are living, and things that are breathing, as well as those that don’t breathe. He created a great number of things—is it easy for all these things to achieve a relationship of interdependence, of mutual support and restriction, of interconnectedness? There certainly is a principle within all of this. Even though it’s very complicated, it’s not difficult for God. However, for people, it’s very difficult to research.”
God’s words resolved the confusion, and I understood that the wonderful uses of the varnish tree and the cork tree all came from God. They both have their own uses and value and restrict one another. They were created by God for our survival. God set down rules for the existence of all things, made them carry out their own functions and exist in an interconnected and interdependent way, and provides the necessities of our life. For example, the sap within the varnish tree can be used for making lacquer which can be used to paint the furniture and is more durable than chemical paint, waterproof and not afraid of sun, and even mice don’t gnaw or bite the things painted with it. The oil pressed from the seed of varnish trees not only tastes delicious, but can prevent stomach cancer and its medicinal properties are quite high. If we vanish the furniture made of lacquer trees, it will have clear and beautiful yellowish stripes and won’t be wormy. The varnish tree’s economic value can bring people necessities of life. This is the livelihood God prepared for those who live here and also His wondrous arrangements. If we accidently touch varnish trees so that we have an unbearably itchy rash, as long as we boil the branches of cork trees which grow beside varnish trees (the cork trees don’t grow in the place where there are no varnish trees) and bathe ourselves several times with the water, we’ll get better. Besides, the cork tree has other miraculous effects. If we have hives, they will disappear as long as we use the water in which we boil the branches of the cork trees and leeks to bathe ourselves several times; it can also cure us of other illness. It’s really so good. God created the varnish tree in order to provide necessities of life for us, and created the cork tree to resolve the inconvenience caused by the varnish tree. God gave them respective function, and created the amazing living environment for us. In it, mankind and all beings restrain each other, depend on each other, and multiply from one generation to the next.
From the varnish tree and the cork tree that God created, I had a little knowledge of God’s wisdom and almightiness, and experienced that God meticulously arranged for our living environment. Besides all sorts of food, God also prepared all kinds of herbs for all the illnesses we suffer from in the life. Through some people figuring out the herbs’ functions, these herbs can be used to cure us and help us recover. God is considerate of our survival, and prepared everything for our survival, so that we have an inexhaustible supply. This is a reflection of God’s authority and power, and even more God’s great love for us. Just as God’s words say, “Regardless of how God works, all His work is for the sake of man. Take, for example, the heavens and earth and all things that God created to serve man: The moon, the sun, and the stars that He made for man, the animals and plants, spring, summer, autumn and winter, and so on—all are for the sake of man’s existence.” From God’s words, I saw God’s true love for us human. Meanwhile, I saw God’s wisdom and power with which God created, manages, and supplies all things. All things God created are perfect and marvelous, and have their own functions and value, which is the manifestation of God’s authority, and even more His wondrous deeds. Only God loves, cares for and supplies us so much. I am willing to forever worship and praise God!