Hmmm, so where did it all start for me ...?
In the beginning, God created Heaven and earth.
Too far back?
Okay, well, contrary to what some people may think, I wasn't actually around for THAT beginning anyway, but sometimes it feels like I've been in love with the written word since MY beginning. Matter of fact, if there had been better lighting and more room in my mother's womb, I'm pretty sure I would've been reading a good book or tapping away on an Underwood before I was even born.
When I was a kid, I made up stories for a bunch of other kids one hot summer. They'd gather round, and I'd spin a tale. Just like Uncle Remus. (Only I was a girl. And skinny. And white.) It was kinda neat that so many gathered to listen, but I also realized the shady spot we met in a neighbor's yard might've played a role, too. Anyhow, if I wasn't making up fairy tales on the fly to tell my friends, I was writing stories, reading stories, and writing some more. But my real AHA moment came when I was in fifth grade. Something happened that year to make me believe I just might have some real writing talent.
That was the year of the big essay contest.
I can't remember for sure which organization sponsored it, but I think it was the American Legion, and the topic was brotherhood. Wait a minute. I should capitalize that. Make that Brotherhood. You see, there was a whole lot of hoopla about this contest, with politicians pontificating about it, and a whole host of cool prizes waiting for the lucky winner.
And it wasn't me.
I didn't win a cool trophy or plaque.
I didn't win money. (Not even a little bit!)
And nobody put a blue ribbon around my neck.
But what I got was just as good. Maybe better. My teacher, who happened to be one of the judges, told me every single one of the judges loved my essay. In fact, they all voted for it.
So why didn't I win?
Um, my essay was too different. It didn't fall within the parameters of what the sponsors wanted a student to say. You see, I said something about how people tend to align themselves in sides of them vs. us, and the only way we'd ever have true unity and brotherhood in this world is if we found a common enemy from beyond it. Yeah, I know. Not exactly rah-rah, Mom and apple pie stuff, huh?
But my teacher said the judges loved my writing.
And I've been hooked ever since.
The point is, Mr. McGrafft had no reason to tell me. But he did. So I'm thinking we shouldn't hesitate to express kind words of encouragement, either. Ya never know how your words may influence another person, or how they may spark that person's dream. Kind words may very well warm much more than that Japanese proverb's three months. After all, they've kept me warm for a lifetime.