How sharp is your knife? | Contributed Columns |

2022-07-22 21:46:20 By : Mr. yifei xiang

It was just an English muffin.

I’ve cut hundreds of them. This time I used the new knife, the one with a lifetime guarantee of sharpness. I began slicing slowly back and forth, and then in a blur it slid quickly through the muffin — and my finger.

A temporary numbness circled my finger until the blood, spilling over the cutting board, triggered a pain receptor. Dropping the knife, the blood trailed over to the sink where pink water ran cold down the drain.

No explanation was needed as I walked into the urgent care clinic. One wave of my bandaged hand told the story and a clipboard was passed through the glass partition.

Waiting on the examining table silently scolding myself for being so careless, regret turned to anger for buying the new knife. The old one had worked just fine, and if I hadn’t been using that new sharp one I wouldn’t be sitting here now. I would throw it away the minute I returned home.

Snapping on her rubber gloves, the doctor squinted as she peeled open my amateur attempt at bandaging.

My head nodded while I bit my lip. She unemotionally prodded my self-inflicted wound. Expecting a cautionary lecture about using sharp knives, she surprised me with quite a different piece of wisdom.

“You should only use sharp knives.”

That gained my attention. She continued.

“When you use a dull knife all the time you lose respect for it. You blindly push hard on it without fear of cutting yourself. Then when you do use a sharp knife, you’re shocked at the power and speed of it. If you always use a sharp knife you stay aware. You pay attention.”

Simultaneously, her lecture and the stitches were complete. Gloves were snapped off.

“You should only use sharp knives,” she restated her point and left the room.

I was on my way home, still stunned by the whirlwind of the last hour, the stitches in my finger and the wisdom I received.

The wisdom went much deeper than the cut to my finger. Just as I had lost the awareness of the sharpness of the knife, I realized many times I live my life with dulled awareness. I needed to sharpen my senses. I needed to see and touch and taste and hear and feel with more mindful awareness. The doctor’s message was not wasted on my cutlery.

I washed my new knife, threw the dull ones away and began sharpening myself. The toaster now held a new English muffin. It filled the kitchen with the smell of comfort.

Feeling the sensation returning to my finger, I touched my bandage with compassion. The day looked clearer. Now, I felt a new awareness and appreciation for my own lifetime guarantee of sharpness.

Although this event happened years ago, I have never forgotten the lesson, and all my knives remain sharp!

Pennie’s Life Lesson: By sharpening your attention you will enjoy a mindful awareness in every moment.

Pennie Hunt is a Wyoming-based author, blogger and speaker. Contact her at

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