The Broken Pencil

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By Kathy Parish

Early in my Christian walk, I came across a quote attributed to Mother Teresa:

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

At that time I was more into my nursing career than seeking a career as a writer, although many of my duties involved creative writing and public speaking. Nursing just seemed the more clear and urgent calling. I viewed the quote as a metaphor. I was the pencil. God had given me certain gifts–intellectual, interpersonal, spiritual, creative–and the expression of those gift through the profession of nursing was my “writing”.

As I have aged, a childhood dream of being a writer has grown into a driving force that pushes me to write. I write nothing profound, not the great American novel, not the “great” anything. I write light pieces–to entertain, to inspire, to comfort, to share. I am somehow incomplete if I do not write. However, it seems my pencil has now been broken. The tragic loss of my 42 year old son through suicide has dammed up my emotions. My heart is empty of encouraging or inspirational thoughts. The words no longer flow out of my mind. The fingers no longer fly across the keyboard. I no longer awaken with the next scene in the novel I’m working on suddenly revealed. Instead, my waking thought is the nightmare of his death.

It hurts. If my pencil is broken, I am not whole. And there is the source of the problem. A broken heart takes time to heal. How long will it take for the pencil to be restored? The exhaustion that is grief overwhelms me. Writing this blog has seemed an insurmountable task. I almost asked to be excused from the assignment.

Then I came across Psalm 27:14–“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

If my role as being the “little pencil in God’s hand” is truth in metaphor form, then I must accept my brokenness as a time to be less than prolific, less than productive. I must let go of the guilt that accompanies not writing. I must wait for His healing, His inspiration, His purpose and timing for my life. I must learn from the lessons of our family tragedy and, perhaps, find a new message that is my God-given assignment to share.

Dear Lord, I commit my way to you. Direct my path as you will. Grant me strength to trust in you. Grant patience to wait for your guidance and healing touch. Help me to write again. Bless those who read this. In your blessed Son’s name, Amen.

Kathy Parish 2016Kathy Parish lives with her beloved husband, daughter, grandson, and miniature Schnauzer, Piper, in central Arkansas. Her faith is the foundation of her life. An actively practicing cardiology nurse practitioner, she has indie published one inspirational romance, Freely Given.

Comments 0

  1. Kathy, I’m so glad you didn’t ask to be “excused from the assignment.” I know this is a message that many needed to hear. Thank you for being that faithful little pencil.

    Praying for strength and comfort as you walk through this deep valley that most of us can’t even imagine. Thank you for these inspiring words.

  2. Kathy, so very sorry for the loss you and your family have experienced. My family has gone through that same awful time, and the questions keep coming–what could I have done differently, why did it happen? I’m reminded of the great words of another theologian, A. W. Tozer, who said that whom God would use greatly, He often hurts deeply. Stay open to what God has in store for you. And thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. It deeply touched me, and I pray that God will grant you peace. Your words made me think that whether it’s through words or images, the Pencil’s task to make God’s heart visible to others. You’ve done that by sharing your grief. Again, thank you.

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