As I walked by my mother’s side with childish steps, I always held in my hands a small portion of all we garnered in our farm and in the market. When we bought tomatoes at the stalls, my mother always let me choose the first one and hold it in my hand. Whenever she carried heads of cabbage in her basket, she would entrust me with one to carry in my hands. When it was time for the chickens to brood, Mother would call me to the coop and tell me to pick all of a hen’s eggs one by one and intuitively decide which eight we’d let the hen brood. Even when my unsteady hands broke an egg, she would just smile and tell me to pick another.
As I grew older and became more inquisitive, I once asked why she always let me hold everything. She smiled, took me to the chicken coop, and, standing outside, told me to go in, hold each of the chickens in my arms one by one, and then go back and give her my thoughts.
“I think they are heavy, Mother,” I said, once I had finished the exercise.
When I came out, I found her seated on a stool. She took me into her arms like I was little again, and said, smiling, “As I hold you like this, I can tell your story. I remember it from its earliest moments to the present. So when we go to the market next week, I want you to hold each chicken in your arms and tell the customers the beautiful story of each chicken from the day you held it as an egg and chose it for brooding. Tell them how each chicken’s story is a story of your work.”
After a short pause, in which her eyes gazed into a vague distance, she continued, “Son, when you hold something in your hands, its story becomes your story. And when you tell its story from your heart, you can inspire everyone else.”