I am the pencil?

“I am like a little pencil in God’s hand. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it.” Mother Teresa

Many times in my life I have been keenly aware of God’s direction–the rather remarkable circumstances through which I entered nursing school (and my profession/life of the past 36 years), the miraculous discovery of the one physician who could salvage my daughter’s life, the indelible influence that my Christian collaborating physician and his beautiful wife have had on my life, and a text message a short while ago from my granddaughter, a beautiful, intelligent young woman of whom I am very proud. She wrote that she has been working on a blog for some time now, but has been timid about sharing the link with anyone. Guess what, dear–your Nana has heretofore been very selective in sharing her link, too! As a matter of fact, my first post pretty much details my ugly fears and uncertainties. I was rather depressed for about a week prior to clicking “Publish”, but, surprise! I have been inordinately happy since doing it. My mind is full of ideas, phrases, analogies–all just struggling to make it to the printed page. And, I am happy. Don’t take that the wrong way. It’s not that I feel important or particularly gifted. I know my blog is not literary genius or food for the intellectual. But it is my soapbox, my stage, and, if any readers show up, my audience.

You see, it is easy to feel that one has little of importance to say. But, perhaps, in God’s eyes, the least of these thoughts timidly recorded is a very big deal. I have often pondered Mother Teresa’s words quoted above. I don’t think the pencil analogy has to do with just words, although words are very important. As a nurse, I think of the words and phrases that evoke such vivid images to us and capture so succinctly the patient situation we are describing. We say, “just fan him with a big white hat,” to mean that there is nothing specific we can do to help that particular complaint, but that the white hat, representative of the good cowboy saving the day, might somehow send good karma his way. Or what about the phrase “she’s crashing and burning”, which inspires in our gut the same adrenalin rush that seeing a plane’s fiery demise might? Although it has fallen out of favor, in my young nurse days the words “he’s low sick” described a patient in the valley of illness with multiple issues and declining vital signs and a grim prognosis. Today “she’s a hot mess” might be heard in the clinical setting to describe the same patient. For me that phrase brings to mind a steaming hot pile of whatever turns you off–a big mess that has to be cleaned up, and the cleaning made all the more difficult because it is, indeed, hot! The patient that breathes the thought, “I want to go home,” and you know he’s talking about a better home than his home here on earth, can inspire a particularly keen watchful wait in the nurse. And then, there is the all-important “just tie a knot and hang on”, because even when the rope is slipping through your hands and you are about to fall to your fate, the proverbial knot will give you a handhold to cling to.

Words do indeed speak volumes and are tremendously important, especially to a writer, but actions are important, too. Sometimes the action of clicking “Publish” is more important than we know. For too long I have been afraid of failure. Mother Teresa also said, “God didn’t call us to be successful, just faithful.” If I am, indeed, His pencil, every word typed and published is His to use as He chooses. Perhaps those words might offer inspiration, encouragement, or comfort. It is my job to trust and just do it. What about you? Are you His pencil? How are you fulfilling that challenge? I hope with confidence and with the best effort that is in you.

And that you, dear, dear granddaughter, will go forth boldly to share your knowledge, creativity, sensitivity–so many gifts in one beautiful package! Go ahead, sweetie, blog and broadcast it to the world!

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