“It’s just a spoon” she said.
Growing up we were the family that spent weekends away in different caravan parks, with our closest family friends. We spent evenings sharing meals at each other’s tents and quite often our cup was in their sink and their fork was in ours. It was easy enough to solve this with a little colour nail polish on each piece of silverware.
Recently we were up in the Drakensberg helping my parents pack up their holiday home, and I stumbled across a spoon. Now I love this spoon, for the only reason that it did not fit in with the rest of the set. I made sure when mum was going through the drawers that I got to keep the spoon. It really is nothing special, classic silver with diamond shapes down the handle. But it had always been my spoon, the one I used when we visited their home.
Mum found it quite strange that I had such affection for a random dessert spoon, and I explained to her how it reminded me of our camping days. And as I fiddled with it in my hand I realised it had no colourful nail polish on it.
Aspirations. Desire. Wishes. Expectations. Ambition. Dreams.
All synonyms of hope. Hope is trusting that something can happen.
Now maybe your story is different, but I don’t see anybody giving out Degrees and PhD’s, CEO positions and Employee of the Month awards. I don’t see anybody sprinkling fertility dust on barren wombs, life into broken souls and healing into Cancer. I don’t see it. But I feel it, because for me and my journey my hope I cannot see, but I know is true.
Mum had shared with me that the spoon was in fact my dad’s spoon, from many years ago, perhaps back to his late teens and early twenties. Again nothing special or out of the ordinary, but for me it was like a magical world of “I can” had opened. You see, my parents didn’t come from wealth. Dad’s folks passed on in his formative days, and mums childhood consisted of a big family with extended members joining in over the years. For both of them to be where they are now, took grit and tenacity and a whole lot of failure.
I remember never really knowing if we were rich or poor, I just knew we were grounded. And somehow in the same year my folks managed to put my brother and I through private schooling and open a new business. There must have been moments, possibly months, of doubt. Fear. Worry. Failure.
It really doesn’t matter who you are in this life, failure will find you. It may be small, it may be monumental – but it will come. And I love to fail, and I teach my kids to love it if they fail, because all it is a lack of success… the first time. But you get to try again, maybe even at something different. It was just an “I can’t” in a world full of other “I cans”. Your job promotion was not a success; there are other jobs and other opportunities your eyes may not have seen yet. Your marriage failed. Perhaps, but how you handle it afterwards can be your success.
You see my parent didn’t get handed a silver spoon on a platter, just a cheap diamond shaped stainless steel generic piece of metal.
But they made it. They pushed through. They both worked. Mum saved responsibly and dad did what was expected of him. Dinner was on the table, our clothes were in good condition and dentist appointments were religiously scheduled every 6 months. We never had the best and we never had the worst. And life was good. Consistent. Kind.
They had fears like we all do, but they didn’t look up at their mountains and tremor at how far they had to go, instead they looked back down their mountains to see how far they had come.
Choose to hope, inspire and be okay to fail
And as an adult I look at my own children and wonder how on earth my parents did it.
No it is not a magical spoon, just a spoon representing where I have come from. My parents knew what they had had, and they knew what they wanted. And in between those two things they never shut their eyes to rest, quit or back down. There were massive mountains that they faced, which I am grateful to say they shielded us from. But I remember times when you didn’t dare talk for the tension was almost tangible.
Find your spoon
When I hold this silly old spoon in my hand, I feel stronger. Strong enough to know that whatever I am facing today, I can overcome it. We are not at the end of our journeys, we are in between the start and the finish. And in between those two moment I also want to climb my mountains.
So the spoon sits in my writing bag. It stays there because when I feel like I have no strength to face today, I can be reminded about what my parents (and your parents) faced before us.
So where is your spoon? What is it that makes you stop for a moment to remember how far you have come, and how far you still want to go? And sometimes holding on to that spoon (or job, or baby bootie) may never take you as far as you want to go, but it may take you on a journey somewhere completely different and in many ways, somewhere wonderful.
Always have hope. Always be inspired by your own journey. And when you fail, love it.