A few months ago, I was browsing in an antique store, and I noticed the cutest little milk glass elephant. He was sitting, had his front legs extended like an invitation for a hug, and had three little holes in each over-sized ear. He was three inches tall and adorable.
Since I collect elephants, and, like I said, he was adorable, I purchased him. After he was washed, I placed him on my desk to the right of my computer screen. He was my writing buddy.
The following day as I sat at my computer, I looked at my new little friend with admiration. My eyes focused on his face and I could not believe what I saw - he was NOT an elephant! He had a snout, not a trunk!
I whispered, “I bought a PIG?!?!"
I don’t like pigs! I immediately did not want him and I began plotting how I could return him. Then I thought how embarrassed I would feel to walk into the store and say: “I thought it was an elephant!” So, I just left him sitting there looking at me, smiling and offering a hug.
After several days, still not mustering up the nerve to return the little alien, I felt ashamed of myself. Just because he wasn't what I thought he was, or what I wanted him to be, did not mean he was inferior. He was as cute as when I spotted him on the shelf.
I had a stern visit with myself. My white ceramic pig now has a name, Harley. I would not trade him for the finest of elephants. He watches over me as I write, activates my brain, and keeps me humble.
Harley came to me innocently, and shame on me for judging him as less valuable just because I didn't see him clearly.
Such is discrimination in our world. If someone does not fit our criteria, for whatever reason, we often reject them and do not give them a chance.
I hope you all have a writing buddy that keeps you aware and accepting of differences. Harley taught me two valuable lessons:
1) What we do not want is often what we need.
2) We must learn to laugh at ourselves.
Until the next time: Live while you live!
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., a Licensed Professional Counselor, is author of My Clients…My Teachers: The Noble Process of Psychotherapy. Visit her blog at www.JenniferGoble.com, and her weekly Mental Matters column at www.southplattesentinel.com/health.