His "magnificent obsession."

That's how Caleb Wigginton describes his passion for woodworking, a passion he picked up as a freshman in high school.

"My sister's boyfriend made her a table," Wigginton, youth minister at First Baptist Church in London, said. "I said 'I could do that.' No one believed I could, but I was determined and I ended up making a table. That birthed the beginning of something I love."

"Magnificent obsession" is a term Wigginton always heard related to ministers.

"All ministers need a 'magnificent obsession,' something outside of your typical routine," Wigginton said. "I really do enjoy woodworking. When I come home at night I get to come into my workshop, relax, I don't have to talk to anyone, even though I enjoy doing that. Every new project is a new puzzle that I really enjoy putting together."

Wigginton is self-taught when it comes to woodworking, and admits he wishes he would have taken shop classes when he was in high school at Taylor County High School.

"Maybe then I wouldn't have to spend so much time on Youtube learning how to do things the right way," Wigginton said with a smile.

While he didn't take shop classes in high school, he did excel on a different type of wood: The hardwood, aka the basketball court. There he was good enough to earn a scholarship to Florida Institute of Technology, a school located about 45 minutes from Orlando.

During his freshman year, he worked his way into the starting line-up, but he also suffered an injury that would eventually end his playing career.

"I sprained my ankle four different times in February and March of that year," Wigginton said. "But I just taped it up and went on. I wasn't going to give up my starting spot. I told the trainers I was good to go and I finished the season."

But Wigginton wasn't good to go. He started rehabilitation on his ankle to be prepared for his sophomore season, but he said the more he rehabbed it the worse it got. By July he couldn't even walk on it, and that's when he found out he had done more than just sprain his ankle. Much more.

"I had torn just about everything," Wigginton said. "There was no cartilage left." So he had surgery on his ankle and missed the upcoming season. Another trip to the doctor and Wigginton found out that he had worn through everything the doctors did in the previous surgery, and that his ankle wasn't going to recover.

"The doctors didn't want to do ankle replacement on a 20-year-old, and I didn't want it," Wigginton said. After a lot of prayer and advice, he decided to hang up his basketball career and head to Campbellsville University, where his father taught, to finish his education. Five days after graduation, he was hired to be the youth minister at First Baptist Church. That was in June of this year.

"They say God has a plan for everything," Wigginton said. "I was willing to listen and He talked to me."

Now when he isn't ministering you can find him in his workshop, saws buzzing and sawdust flying.

"I try to make anything that someone wants," Wigginton said. "I want to be diverse. For me the key is to try something that I haven't tried before. But if I don't think I can do it, I will be honest with the person."

Wigginton said he finds a lot of his material on the side of the road. He found three tree stumps on a recent trip back to Campbellsville that he plans to turn into a coffee table. He's made tables, frames and cutting boards for clients. His Facebook and Instagram pages can be found by searching @littlebearworks. The pages contain items he has made and also his contact information.

"I don't know if this will ever turn into a real big-time business," Wigginton said. "The ministry is first and foremost my calling. This is a hobby and something I enjoy and hopefully something I'm getting better at."

dhouse@sentinel-echo.com

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