Do you need a trouble tree?

 

I came across this story a few years back. It’s one of those that makes its rounds on the internet and social media, but every time it resurfaces, I’ve always needed to hear it again. I’d like to share it with you. The author is unknown, but the title is “The trouble tree” as it appears on inspiration.net.

 

 

“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 pickup 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.’”

 

I’m up at midnight writing this one. I can’t sleep because I have a bunch on my plate right now. We have two houses vacant in a hot market. This means I’m getting inundated with phone calls. Often, by the time I’ve finished returning one voicemail, I already have two more in its place.

 

 

I just got a call from my plumber telling me we have to redo the cast iron and galvanized drains on a house to the tune of almost $2,000. Mind you, we replaced the septic system on this house already this year. Oh, and in the morning I need to go file dispossessory on two houses that decided not to help pay this month­– which just adds to our negative cashflow for the month.

 

Throw two large rehabs in the mix and I don’t think Joey has been being his normal chipper self lately. But I have to be careful not to bring all that home. Ashley and the kids deserve more than to feel Dad’s stress just because he’s a little overwhelmed at work.

 

Thinking on that reminds of the story of the young pastor who was making a house call to an elderly lady. As they sat down in the living room, the young preacher asked the woman what her favorite Bible verse was. She smiled and said, “And it came to pass.” Puzzled, the young pastor asked her why that was her favorite scripture. She replied, “Because it didn’t come to stay.”

 

If you’re in a place where you’re feeling overwhelmed, just know this too shall pass. Yahweh won’t give you more than you can handle. But while you’re handling it, make sure you leave your troubles on the tree outside of your house where they belong. Your family needs you, not your troubles.

 

Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.

3 comments

  1. Excellent column, Joseph.

    The real estate TV shows don’t do justice showing the sleepless nights of REI…and they do NOT explain why owning rental property is so important if your goal is financial freedom.

    Last night Kim and I played a 4-hour Cash Flow game with friends Derek and Tracy Dombeck, and their 10-year old daughter, Mckenna. I was amazed how well Macenna understood cash flow – the concept. She knows laboring for a living is not the secret to financial freedom. Derek and Tracy never pass a chacnce to teach this.

    Makenna, by the way, won the game!!!

  2. This brings up 2 things for me.
    Perspective – It’s only a problem if I think it is.
    Gold plated problems – each one of your issues had abundance on the other side.

    Good story. Thanks.
    steve

  3. Wow…another terrific message, Joe! And not just for RE investors…this is great advice for everyone! Thank you.

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