Thursday, August 5

A Matter of Skill

If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. --Ecclesiastes 10:10

In late September of 1998, I began one of the biggest undertakings of my life. I started college. I had done well in high school and with a few Advanced Placement credits to my name, I welcomed the challenge that lay before me.

My first quarter grades were a disaster. The study skills that had served me so well in high school fell far short of the workload that I attempted. One afternoon at orchestra rehearsal, a new friend of mine could sense my frustration and simply asked how things were going. Being an eager freshman who valued the opinions of the upperclassmen, I begged him to tell me how he had survived the rigorous schedule of cellular biology, general chemistry, and calculus.

With a smile, Keith shared with me this verse. He reminded me that not everyone can be the top student and that as corny as it may seem, all we can ever really do is try our best. I held tightly to this verse for the rest of my college career. I thought of it often as I prepared for midterms and finals. I thought of it most often when I was unable to take a full courseload or had to repeat a class.

At some point I even copied this verse onto an index card and taped it to my bedroom door at my parents' house. Oddly enough, the card remained long after I had moved out. On the eve of my college graduation, my husband and I spent the night in my old room. The next morning as I put on my cap and gown, I saw the verse and smiled as I remembered the first time I ever heard it.

I left for my graduation ceremony smiling to myself and thanking God for giving me the skill I needed to bring sweet success. I may have been swinging a dull, unsharpened ax for the last 6 years, but what a joy it is to know that all the effort was worth it.



At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is awesome! I will be telling the students at Rice about it for sure and will be a visitor myself!

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Harry J. Sachz said...

wow... what a talented writer!.. looking forward to reading more... congratulations by the way :-)


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