I told Ms. Emily McInnis that I am afraid of her. Emily isn’t bad or evil or cruel or a monster. She’s really quite nice. And she’s not even real actually. She’s only a character in my head that I want to put on paper, but she does have the power to hurt me. I am afraid of Emily because I am scared I can’t write her character, and I’m frightened that if I do write her that she will become a daily mirror in which I compare myself and see that I have fallen short. In my mind she has fortitude, and she is intrepid. She stands up for herself. She has grit. She is strong, determined and wise. How can I write such a character and make her believable when for some time now I have not embodied these qualities myself. What’s that old adage? Write what you know, right? If so, my Emily should be thwarted at every turn until she is finally paralyzed by fear.
I told her this one day recently and sat in silence across from her, waiting for her response.
Finally, Emily reached out and patted me twice on the worried tangle of fingers I held anxiously in my lap. “You, my dear, are dwelling in scarcity. It started when you looked and saw others succeed while you failed. You believe you have tried harder but have gained less. You have closed your eyes to the courage of others around you until now you don’t even believe in it for yourself.”
Emily ran her hands primly across her lap flattening the already perfectly crisp creases of her long day skirts. “Sit up straight, my dear,” she chided. As I sheepishly complied, I looked into her face but I did not see disdain or disappointment behind her words. This was just Emily. Emily of her time. 1910. Her eyes were soft as she continued.
“There is an antidote. Every day be ready. Be ready to see beauty. Be anxious to hold wonder. So ready and anxious that you find beauty and wonder in the smallest places, made of the smallest things, and you horde these tiny treasures until you have to push past them all to navigate the hallways of your heart. This is how abundance is made.”
Emily stood, and with a proper smile she straightened her hat and smoothed her hair. “Punctuality”, she stated, simply. “I must get to the baker for the school’s lunch loaves before the noon whistle. But you know where to find me.”