It was a plate for decoration, not eating. Made of pink Depression glass, to be hung on a wall and passed to succeeding generations.

I found my mother examining it one day, and since I didn’t remember seeing it before, stopped, mildly curious, to inquire about it. I still don’t know whom it originally belonged to, but I do remember my mother saying that there was “no one to leave it to,” because: “We’re dying out.”   tree-693807_1920-pixabay

She was referring to a certain small section of our family tree—the one with three solitary limbs. Two of them middle-aged, unmarried and childless. My brother and me.

And that pretty pink plate that I held in my hands for just a few moments sparked some unexpected thought: about harvests, of all things.

I not only had no one to leave something to, I wasn’t sure I had something to leave, period.

Yet there in my mother’s dining room, after a rather barren minute, I felt a small, ever so quiet answer to the question I did not speak out loud.
“I gave you poems.”

Well, that’s how I recalled it later, along with other things, such as a certain famous character in a beloved book, who furiously penned stories in a drafty attic and sold them to help her family pay the bills (much like her real-life counterpart):

“An old maid, that’s what I’m to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence, a morsel of fame, perhaps…” 1

And another artistic spinster, a Victorian governess rescued from a profession she detested by a poet friend, painting prolifically but not successfully—at least not in the financial sense:

“…I feel strong in the trust that my Maker will see and forgive all, and will make better use hereafter of my capacities – great and here unwanted and unused – for love and for creative Work.  It has indeed been borne in upon me that here I am a superfluous creature.  There I shall know and be known.” 2

Two women, two gifts. One foresaw a harvest, and lived. One did not, and died.

* * *  writing-933262_1920-pixabay

How many times have you wondered who will read your book, your blog, your story? Who will buy it, share it, prove that it was not in vain?

If no one ever read a word I wrote . . . what would be the purpose in it? @LucieWinborne Click To Tweet

That was the question posed by a pink plate of Depression glass in my mother’s dining room.

For me, at least, the answer was complicated by the belief that artistic talent is a gift from God. Why would He bestow it if it was only to end up “wasted”?

I had to rethink my definition of harvest. I had to realize that:

Ultimately it didn’t matter if “the world” never saw or cared about another word I wrote. Click To Tweet

What mattered was that if a gift is given, to abandon or bury it, for any reason, is unacceptable. Click To Tweet

For some, like me, harvest is reaped in words. For others, like my brother, it’s in melodies and musical notes.

And while we’ve both enjoyed a small measure of success and praise, sometimes—for all of us—

Harvest will be found in the form of God’s appreciation rather than man’s. Click To Tweet

No doubt I’ll have to remind myself of this again in the future. But each time I do, that pretty pink plate will remain exactly what it was designed to be: just a decorative piece of glass.

* * *

How about you?  Do you have a talent or gift that you feel has been unappreciated, or that you fear will be? How do you measure “harvest” in your life? Please tell us in the comments or say hello.

1* Jo March, Little Women

2** Blanche Glover, Possession

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About Lucie Winborne

Lucie Winborne is a proofreader/editor, occasional poet, procrastinating novelist, and freelance writer for ReMIND magazine. She received her B.A. in Creative Writing from Eckerd College and her work has appeared in poetry journals, the Orlando SentinelOne Million Storiesand Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Women and Their Tattoos.  Her first poetry chapbook, The Soundness of Broken Pieces, was published by Middle Island Press in 2013. She has been known to blog at Postcards From My Head and edits/guest blogs for the humanitarian aid nonprofit Global Hope Network International. You can connect with Lucie on her blog: https://lmwinborne.wordpress.com/
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