You’ve Been Given a Full Box of New Crayons

But if the beautiful picture you were born to create is going to happen, you have to open the box and start to color.

You look at those crayons. So new. So colorful. Sharp and unbroken, their paper wrapping still fresh and new. And you realize if you begin to use them, they won’t look like that for long.

So you put them away to save for a special time. When you really feel creative. When what you create will be worth messing up those beautifully sharpened crayons. You pull the box out occasionally and wonder “am I ready to use these to try and create something really special, really breathtaking?” You even pull out a fresh clean piece of paper and almost touch the point of the crayon to the paper.

And then you stop. What if you mess up your creation? What if it’s going well and suddenly you mess up? So many of those beautiful crayons would now messed up, used, their points no longer sharp, and their paper wrappers torn. You’re upset because you’ve now taken something of beauty and messed it up, and now those once beautiful crayons don’t look capable of creating anything any more.

You feel bad and can’t even bear to look at the mess you’ve made. Throwing them away seems unfair because it’s not their fault you couldn’t use them correctly. What to do?

So you decide to give them away. Maybe someone else can salvage them and use them for something, and you can at least you won’t be reminded of your failure. You put them in a box, mark “free” on it, and leave them in your yard, hoping they won’t be left behind for long.

The next morning they’re gone. You feel guilty but you just can’t be reminded how you failed and messed them up. And you’re not going to try that again!

But a month or so later, when you open your front door, there’s a beautifully wrapped package sitting there, the tag reading simply “thank you. Open when you’re ready.”

What in the world? You haven’t done anything special for awhile, at least not that you’re aware of. This must be for someone else.

But after a few hours of looking at that package, you can’t stand it any more. You have to know what’s inside; maybe you’ll find out where it came from, so you can properly thank them.

As you’re unwrapping it you take a close look at the colorful wrapping paper. It seems to be a rainbow of fine colored swirls, all carefully mixed together to form a beautiful pattern. It’s too pretty to tear up, so you carefully unwrap it so that the paper can be re-used.

Inside, you find a sketchbook, filled with colorful hand drawn pictures. Turning the pages you find seascapes, florals, even portraits that resemble people you know. At the end of the book there’s an inscription that reads “don’t be afraid to use your crayons. Just because they get broken, lose their points, and don’t always look perfect, they can still be used to make wonderful, beautiful pictures.”

And at the bottom of the box were several crayons, the few small pieces that were left from the whole crayons that had been used by the artist to make the beautiful pictures in the sketchbook.

Those were the crayons she’d given away, of course. Or what was left of them.

What do you think that person did next? Use the leftover pieces to draw more pictures? Buy new crayons that would actually be used to draw more pictures? Or continue to be discouraged because someone else did something with what they were given while he/she threw away the opportunity?

What would you have done?

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