I want to talk about…blank pages.
Sometimes in life we get a problem, trial, or all-out life upheaval that makes us think, Why am I getting this? How can I solve it? And when it won’t be solved, Please just take it from me.
We don’t see beyond the now.
Recently, I was watching a documentary on Jack Canfield (co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series–a collection of heartwarming or inspirational stories) and this one experience stuck with me.
He said when the first printing of the book came back to them, the layout made it so there was a blank page left at the very back. It was a problem. So Jack sought how to best solve it and came up with an idea.
He wrote, Do you have a story to share? If so, mail it to this address so we can consider it for the sequel.
He had no idea what that would yield. About 50 to 100 letters a day, and ultimately about 10,000 stories per book. Which led to 200 books in the actual Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Not bad for someone who initially received 144 rejections to the book itself.
No, his problem wasn’t heinous or seemingly life-altering. It was a problem. But to solve it, he went to the divine and then reached outside of himself to others. And his small loaves and fishes came back thousands on the waters.
What that taught me was this: blank pages can look like problems but they can be untapped opportunities. Maybe you’re looking at a problem or trial in your life right now that seems bleak and negative.
But perhaps–just perhaps–if you reach out to others it may become the very blessing you, and they, need to solve it.
One of my favorite scriptures that we speak almost daily in our home (as they run to the bus!) is: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not fear not.”
In Jack’s reaching up and then out, the people were the ones who made the book successful, and created the succeeding volumes. A beautiful synergy between problem and solution that blesses countless lives.
“Even when we are found faithfully keeping the commandments, there are trials and tragedies that could interrupt our joy. But as we strive to overcome these challenges with the Savior’s help, it preserves both the joy we feel now and the joy we anticipate.” D. Todd Christofferson
What’s your Blank Page? And how can you turn outside yourself to find a solution that blesses others and you in the process?
Want a little more? Check out my Podcast on Blank Pages: