Remember lucky pencils from elementary school? The ones your teachers would give you so you would ace those standardized tests?
Well, I have a lucky pencil. It’s an old-fashioned #2 pencil. It’s a deep, slate blue #2 pencil. It’s got gold lettering on the side. And a simple, profound message: TELL YOUR STORY.
It arrived n the mail last year when I ordered a children’s story for my boys, a book about building tree houses from Magnolia Market— the world-renowned Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market, the same Magnolia Market to which I had entered (and not won), a writing contest earlier that spring.
I took that pencil as a sign.
A sign that somebody over there in the land of Magnolia milk and honey had remembered me and my writing and decided to send along some manna from Magnolia to encourage and sustain me along my writing journey through the wilderness.
And while odds are that was not the case, and odds are that my inspirational magic pencil was quite simply a gift-with-purchase that every patron receives, I like to think otherwise. I like to think it is special. Because my words — and my story — are special. That’s what I like to think.
Only now, my magic pencil is gone.
I noticed its absence yesterday morning while applying my eyeliner.
Normally, my magic pencil hangs out in my bathroom in a ceramic container along with my toenail clippers and eyebrow scissors. (I don’t actually WRITE with it. It’s a symbol. A sign. A powerful promise, if you will.) And so it sits prominently in my line of vision (or it did until yesterday), reminding me every day to do what it commands me to do.
And some days, I notice the message has twisted round to where I can’t see it, so I rotate my promise, feeling its hexagonal planes shift beneath my thumb and forefinger, until I can see it again. Because I need to see it daily. I need reminding. Daily.
Especially lately, when my words seem to get lost in the frantic shuffle of my busy teaching and twin-mom world. Lately my words have been getting harder and harder to find, and once found, to put in some semblance of order.
And even when I do manage to round them up — recently in rather ramshackle fashion — I don’t know that they really make much of an impact at all…
So I need my sign, my writing-on-the-writing-utensil sign, shipped from some random, nameless, faceless true believer of both me and my story out in Waco-turned-Canaan, Texas (intentional or otherwise.)
Because me… sometimes I don’t believe. Sometimes I lose my faith.
And now, tragedy has struck. My magic pencil has gone missing. And I’ve looked everywhere. And my husband has looked everywhere. (And he’s much better at finding things than I am. He found me in the eleventh hour after all, and saved me from drought and famine, and I am forever in his debt.)
So my magic pencil has gone missing and I see this as an ominous sign. And I’m a firm believer in signs. But then, you already know that. So I guess that means…
This is going to be hard to believe, but I swear to you it is the God’s honest truth…
Just as I closed my computer, thinking I was pretty much done with my blog (as well as my entire storytelling career), my youngest son bent down at a spot we had all gone over with a fine-tooth comb and exclaimed…
“Mama, is this your pencil?”
Why, yes. Yes it is.
And since I’m a firm believer in signs… I guess I know what I have to do now. I have to obey.
So I’m sending this story — and many, many more — out into the universe.