Monday, June 1, 2009

The Parable of the Briar Patch

I suspect there are times in all of our lives when we feel the need to shift gears. This may happen when we realize that we’ve stumbled into a rut of epic proportions and it’s time to dig out and try a different path. Since I’ve always enjoyed imagery, I’ll share a bit of this now to illustrate my point.

Picture, if you will, a lengthy, meandering path, fraught with peril. Scenic beauty propels you forward, until you trip and land in a briar patch. The briars pierce your clothing and skin in an uncomfortable fashion, inspiring you to hold still. The more you move around, attempting to free yourself, the more intense the pain. The temptation is to never move, but to stay in place, avoiding untold misery. But if you remain in this position, you are stymied. There is no moving forward, no growth, merely stagnation. Only you can decide if removing yourself from this briar patch is worth the effort. Only you can choose to continue on.

There are a variety of briar patches that pop up in life’s pathway. Grief, disappointment, physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges test our very mettle. I’m finding in my own life, it is crucial to remove each briar, no matter how pain-filled, and to continue on, embracing the tests and joy that lie ahead. The adage: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” is indeed wise advice. I believe that we’ll be very disappointed with our earth-life experience if we avoid those paths less taken.

Someday we’ll all have to account for the lives we’ve led while in mortal mode. Will we be as the unprofitable servant who hid his talent to keep it safe? Or as the wise steward, who multiplied his talents as best he could? The loving Master, who bestowed these wonderful gifts, hoped they would be utilized to better the world and to help those around us. Each one of us must choose what it is we will do with this legacy.

As writers, we have a unique opportunity to share our gift of words. How we choose to do so is up to each individual writer. I fear there are times when we allow criticism to hinder us. Instead of using these moments as a chance to learn and hone our skills, we permit those barbed briars to pierce our skin and wound our hearts. Again, only we can decide to pull ourselves out of that patch and move on, refusing to be stifled. If words burn within, share them as you wish, embracing the chance to create, instill, and rejoice.


Jennie said...

Having done my share of berry picking, I can relate to your analogy. Both picking berries and in life, there are times when it seems too much to move. All I want to do is hold still and hope the briars go away. They never do without exerting some effort of my own,and the only way to get out of the tangle isto move one sharp branch at a time, even if it hurts.

Gale Sears said...

Words of wisdom, Cheri. I have encountered my share of briar patches and learned to grit my teeth and get out, but I find it even more painful when my children get caught in the thorns.

Michele Ashman Bell said...

So profound, Cheri. this is such a wonderful life lesson. Jennie and Gale also shared such lovely thoughts. I always feel good after visiting the blog!