A little boy was given a pack of unsharpened pencils by his mother. Excited to use his new gift, but completely unaware that they were in no condition to work just yet, he excitedly took each pencil out of the pack. One by one the little boy removed all 12 pencils from the pack and placed them on his kitchen table. He then gathered up several pieces of blank paper and sat at the table to begin his art work. Sitting snugly in his seat, the little boy picked up his first pencil to write. To his surprise, no matter how hard he pushed the pencil on the paper, it would not write.
Convinced that the first pencil was defective, the little boy picked up another one. Again, same result…it would not write. Frustrated, he gathered the pencils and ran crying to his mother in the next room. With tears in his eyes, he told his mother “mommy, these pencils you gave me don’t work”. His mother quickly replied, “oh honey, they work just fine they need to be sharpened. Let me show you. I will just stick each one in the pencil sharpener for a little bit, then they will be ready to use.” Immediately, the little boy loudly yelled “NO! DON’T SHARPEN THEM! IT WILL HURT THE PENCILS”. Confused, the mother replied “what”? The little boy responded, “the pencils are perfect like they are. If you stick them in the sharpener, it will change the pencils and hurt them”. The mother laughed and replied, “I promise it will be ok”.
Rather than have his mother sharpen the pencils, the boy decided to do it himself…they were his pencils. The little boy walked slowly over to the electric pencil sharpener that his mother placed on the kitchen table next to his new pencils, and stuck one pencil in. As soon as the blades hit the pencil, the little boy screamed “OUCH”. The mother hurried into the room and asked the boy what was wrong. The little boy replied “it hurts the pencil to be sharpened, I told you it would mommy.” The mother asked the little boy to hand her the pencil, and said she wanted to have a conversation with the pencil. The mother said, “Mr. Pencil, I know the process of being sharpened is very painful. But, you have to understand that your manufacturer did not create you to remain in an unsharpened state. In order to be of use to anyone and to become the item your manufacturer created you to be, you must go through the sharpening process.”
Friends, this story sums up my life. Many of you have asked about or commented on my strength, perseverance, and positive outlook on life. Candidly, each time someone mentions it I find myself surprised. If asked to describe myself, until recently, I would not’ve used the word strong. I would’ve described myself as funny, intelligent, bold, sarcastic, attractive, giving, and opinionated. Now though, I absolutely see myself as strong, resilient, and the other words I used above. But, I am painfully aware of the process it took to get here. While I write a great deal about how I view life with 35 year old eyes given my health and previous life experiences, I have not written too much about how I got here. My writings today clearly show a perspective impacted by a sharpening process, but fail to describe the actual process. So, in honor of this being my 50th post, we will spend some time going back in time.
Yes friends, you are about to get up close and personal with me. We will go deeper into my past and thoughts, to really show how I am slowly becoming who I was manufactured to be. For the readers that know me personally, rest assured that no hidden secrets will be disclosed…I will never tell where Jimmy Hoffa is. But, even you, my dear friends, will learn things you never knew. Even you, will likely start to understand the method to my madness by reading about the early years. For my new readers, you will hopefully learn some lessons through my life that will spare you the pain I’ve experienced. So, if you are up for a few trips down memory lane…I am too.
Friends, this process, like the original, will absolutely hurt. But, I assure you, we will all be better afterwards.