A long-standing friend I communicate with on a semi-regular basis passes along little gems of wisdom. Like me, she has known substantial life struggles and is a spiritual seeker trying to find her place in the universe. For all the time we have known each other, searching for elusive happiness has been her pathway. My prayer is she finds the peace that has long played ‘hide and go seek’ with her. Last week she shared a parable about a pencil that touched me.
A pencil maker told a pencil five important lessons before packaging the pencil for sale.
* Everything you do will always leave a mark.
* You can always correct the mistakes you make.
* What is important is inside of you.
* In life, you will undergo painful sharpening’s which will only make you better.
* To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the Hand that holds you.
We all need to be constantly sharpened. This parable intends to encourage you to know you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are is what’s inside of you.
Some days the subject matter I leave here daily comes quickly. At times I have enough ideas stored up for days. On other occasions I wake up with a general sense of gratitude, but lacking focus of thought to pick a single one to write about. Checking my email this morning I read again the pencil parable from my friend. And then it hit me what I am most grateful for this morning. I am grateful for “ME”!
Having spent most of my days having difficulty accepting a compliment, it should be no surprise that I suffered (and still do to an extent) from low self esteem. While intellectually I know such thinking is illogical and unhealthy, it continues even now, but thankfully to a lesser degree than ever before.
I fear my ego getting the best of me. I don’t want to appear as full of myself or conceited. Nor do I want the delusion of “I have arrived” for then I would cease to apply myself to growth with the dedication I have had. Yet, I know I need to try; I need to try to see the good in me, the talent and ability I have and give credit to self for what has been accomplished. As I finished that line my fingers froze on the keyboard. I honestly don’t know what to say about myself. So I will follow the track of the pencil in the parable to help me find a few qualities to write about.
Everything you do will always leave a mark. My first reaction is to think of the negative ways I have marked others, but will resist that shackle. Instead I will write about the people who have attended the 12 step chapter of Codependents Anonymous I helped get going here. There is no doubt many have benefited by attending the group, including me. My commitment to the group is a “mark” made which I am proud of.
You can always correct the mistakes you make. This one is problematic for me as I don’t accept as true that mistakes can be “corrected”. What I can do is recognize my errors and learn from them. Amends can be made with people and in some instances peace can be attained. Recognition of my wrongs done and willingness to try to make things right is life work that will continue as long as I beathe.
What is important is inside of you. Once upon a time introspection would have been a daunting task because of the awful trepidation I harbored about looking inward. It took emptying out the poison I fermented from the mistreatment in my childhood before I could begin to see inward. Once the toxic waste was emptied there became open space within me. Then slowly through months and years I learned to fill in those spaces with what makes for a good life and to practice a new way of being.
In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings which will only make you better. Absolutely! It has been what I did wrong and what was wrongly done to me, the pain I have encountered and the lessons learned that have “sharpened” me. As a rock can be smoothed in a river by the friction of moving water, the friction of my life has smoothed me. It has been an honest statement in recent years to say, “I like me now for the first time”.
To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the Hand that holds you. There are few things that have been more difficult than finding acceptance of God/Higher Power/Universal Intelligence. My unanswered prayers for abuse to stop as a child brought the belief there was nothing beyond me. Moring into adulthood I came to be my own god with a simple certainty of “if it is to be, it is up to me”.
My recovery from depression and compulsion brought me around to a new view. There came a realization it was not just my work and those aiding my efforts causing my healing. When opened to whatever it took to have a better life… something unexpected showed up to help. I can’t identify it exactly and to even try would distance me from it. But with all my being, I know a Higher Power rides along with me for every step of my journey.
I am “perfectly imperfect”. I am a unique creation of my Higher Power, the intelligence of the universe. There never has been another exactly like me and there never will again be. I am uniquely myself. I am significant and I matter. And with those few lines my gratitude swells within and brings moisture to my eyes.
Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are. Julius Charles Hare