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The Box of Crayons

As a child, every year for Christmas, I would get a new Scribble pad and box of Crayola Crayons. When Crayola made the new 64-count box of crayons with a built in sharpener, we were officially Uptown. There were crayons in that flip top box that I would not share, shades that were mine alone. It was more a product of our age differences, but I was always silently bragging that I got the big box of crayons while my sisters got none. Mind you, they were years older than me and long grown past coloring. I felt special and different.

Life is similar in many ways. While I have a 64 count box of crayons, nay I may have graduated to the 96 count box, some are still working with an 8 count box of crayons. But, over the years, I also have learned to appreciate the skill of those able to create with such limitations. Indeed, I have so much, while they have less….and yet, they show remarkable talent and skill. Who am I not to succeed given all that I have? With so many choices, options and variety, I have no excuses. I feel a sense of responsibility to use all that I have well. To NOT would be ungrateful, wasted talent that might have served better one with more intention or purpose. But simply having access may not guarantee proficiency. I could buy a piano but the possession of the magical instrument does not endow me instantly with the ability to play. I can buy a fancy sportscar, but never learn to drive stick shift. The car may project to others that I “should” be able to, since I own the car, it does not guarantee I can drive the car.

Ability comes through applied effort, practice and repeated trial and errors. One cannot be expected to have mastered something on a first try and impatience plays a keen enemy for those hopeful of learning new things. Having a chorus or a crowd with high expectations can make anyone reticent. Those spectators have expectations; they know you own the 64 count box of Crayons. They know what you COULD do, how you might create, what should be forthcoming. But they know nothing of your fears. They know little of your uncertainty. They are not privvy to the internal dialogue between doubt and desire.

Reticence is a fair middle ground, a way station in the journey. To keep one’s dreams, feelings and hopes private limits the crowd that can observe falling short of one’s goal. It allows you to adjust and retry and still feel protected.

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