Sunday, July 22, 2012

Offering the Widow’s Mite

I’ve been thinking about inadequacy lately, and  how we often perceive ourselves less than we are. Like a disease, this malady—if allowed to develop unchecked—can stop us in our progression toward our goals. I’ve worked feverishly at my writing for over twenty-five years now and possess little proof of my efforts. As a result, occasionally, I fall victim to the life-sapping belief I’ve failed to reach my honored place in the industry.

The other  night I visited with a spiritual leader of the church I attend. I unloaded all my failures and weaknesses, confessing my lack in writing, in mothering, in marriage, in service…well, I included almost every aspect of my life in the equation. I drew a sympathetic smile from him, not for any lack I possess, but more for my misguided observation of who I am.
He talked of the parable of the widow’s mite and asked me what it meant. I thought about his question for a moment. My answer: However small the talent we hold, if we give everything we have, it is enough. He reminded me, “Worth more than all the rest.” 
That concept might be difficult for us to accept in this world of comparisons, in the sharp contrasts of one individual over another, but the concept rings true. The Savior didn’t look at the widow’s offering in any monetary value, only at her willingness to give all for her beliefs. Those who identified themselves as giving much, had actually held back more than they contributed, had elevated themselves to an honor they didn’t deserve.
What does this have to do with writing? Everything. Sometimes writers get sucked into the whirlwind of numeric successes—how many words, how much can we get, on what scale does our work compare to someone else’s. Not only does the emphasis take away from the joy of journey, but we demote our best efforts and forget our all is the most valued requirement. Who’s to say our steadfastness and the product of our efforts isn't praiseworthy? Does a measure exist that accurately describes our determination and ability to improve?
We should take note of how our words effect our own hearts, how the labor builds confidence and shows commitment as we learn. The rewards will come, maybe not as we hope or as soon as we desire, but if we even lift one soul with our words, we have accomplished something important. If, in the process, we change our own erroneous ideals, the rewards are even more priceless. And if in perseverance, we discover our love of the craft and the energy invested has helped more than just ourselves, we discover value far greater than the rest.
The thought gives pause. It gives new vitality to our writing. We and our struggles are worth far more than we realize. The sooner we accept this, the more productive and successful we will become.


Suzanne Furness said...

What a lovely post,uplifting. It is so hard to be positive about what we have rather than what we haven't.

David P. King said...

I so needed to read this today. This will certainly help prevent the proverbial self slapping that comes with falling into this slump. Thanks! :)

Peggy Shumway said...

No slapping, proverbial or otherwise! We are writers with potential, whether anyone cares to recognize it or not. We have much to give, and that should be our mantra. Thanks for stopping by, David and Suzanne.

Crack You Whip said...

This is so true. I give all I have and still think it is never enough. What an inspiring post!

Peggy Shumway said...

I guess the trick is to remember nothing we do is a waste. We give of our talents because we love what we do, and it is worth more than we think.