Eating or sharing?

For as long as I can remember, writing has been one of my passions.
And I count myself very fortunate that, with the exception of six short years as a teacher early on, I was able to write throughout my working life—and even get paid for it!
There are three things that are very important to writers: being published; being paid; and being read.
And there is one more thing. For born writers, the fourth and most important thing is writing!
Take my poetry, for example. I have published very little poetry in my lifetime. One early exception was a poem I wrote at age 18 or 19.
With my youthful exuberance, I thought it was good–good enough to publish–so I submitted it to a church paper. But the bad thing was that I was lacking in self-confidence and feared rejection, so I made up a pseudonym.
And then it was published! There was “my poem” highly visible in a prominent church publication that everyone read.
But no one knew it was mine. Not even the editor!
That was a bitter lesson for me, but I still write poetry. Some better; some worse.
Oddly enough, I haven’t submitted any of my poems for publication since my teens. I write poetry for myself; not for others.
But one poem I almost submitted was titled, “The Thousand Points of Light.” It was written after I saw the televised nighttime bombing of Baghdad at the start of the first Iraq war.
Written to deal with my own personal grief at the tragedy, this was one poem I probably should have shared.
In addition to poetry and column writing, I have tried all kinds of writing. For instance, I’ve written many articles for magazines and church papers, scripts for slide shows, Sunday school curriculum, college public relations materials, and hundreds of publications during my 25 years as a mental health communicator.
As a writer, there is one very important thing you have to be aware of–once published, anything you have written is out there. You can’t take it back!
I was reminded of this fact recently when Rosanne Moser (daughter of my good high school friend, Lorenna Moser, of northern New York) sent me a copy of a long-forgotten article.
The article (entitled “Eating or Sharing?”) appeared in the November, 1954 issue of a church periodical–59 years ago! With trepidation, I began reading what I wrote so long ago.
“‘What do we do on Thanksgiving Day?’ I asked my six-year-old Sunday school class.
“‘Eat!’ Frankie answered. No one smiled. Everyone agreed.”
I went on to describe a delicious Thanksgiving feast, including everything from “gravy-smothered potatoes” to “celery sticks.” Then I told a long-forgotten story of a family who ate soup one Thanksgiving day and gave the money they saved to those who had no food.
Eating or sharing?
Even though the writing wasn’t spectacular, and the message was a little preachy, it made me think! What about my faith now? Do I live it? And how does it apply to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner?
So the question is: should we be giving thanks for our plenty, or should we be sharing?
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