The Power of Story

Rod Pickett
2 min readFeb 26, 2024

The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.
Alain de Botton

There was a man (We’ll call him Mike.) who became a master sculptor.

He was so good that his nickname became Michaelangelo.

His sculptures were so lifelike that they created the illusion of movement if you stared at them very long.

After years of using mallets and chisels, his hands started to hurt.

He tried to tough it out, but eventually, he knew he had to see his doctor.

After some x-rays and other tests, the doctor told him he was developing a serious case of arthritis. If he continued to sculpt, he would lose the use of his hands.

For several weeks, he did no sculpting. He did nothing. Nothing but sit and stare out his window.

One day as he was feeling a surge of despair, his eyes dropped on some sketches he had made for the current sculpture, which he had started months ago.

When he glanced at the rough outline, he reacted with anger. Why was all this being taken from him? It took years to develop his skills. Now they were useless.

Yet there was something else, “Wait. Those sketches are good. I can see the same animation in them that I tried to create in my sculptures.”

With some experimentation, he was able to hold a pencil and sketch with almost no pain.

His deep knowledge of anatomy and his ability to visualize in 3D, allowed him to capture the same vitality he was famous for, but this time with a few lines of graphite on paper.

In a few years, his drawings were bringing as much as his sculptures, even though the drawings could be completed in hours instead of weeks.

He was known as the sculptor who carved with a simple pencil.

At a routine eye exam, he was told that he had the beginning stages of macular degeneration.

His sight quickly deteriorated until he could no longer draw.

He couldn’t even sit and stare out the window.

His eye doctor told him that many patients found journaling helpful in dealing with the loss of sight.

Using the accessibility features on his computer, he started jotting down his thoughts and feelings.

One day he forgot to close the journal file, and a friend happened to stop by.

She saw the text on the screen and looked away feeling guilty for violating her friend’s privacy.

Because of his failing sight, he had become more perceptive of how people spoke or didn’t speak.

“Did I leave the file open?”


“Go ahead. Read it.”

She read it and got caught up in the insight and emotion contained in just a few words.

She was able to convince him to publish his journals.

His fame as an author eclipsed what he had as a sculptor and artist.

Mike’s first book was titled: Gratitude: How tragedy taught me to enjoy life.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.



Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.