If I have heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times. “I just don’t have any talent”. I notice that the people who confide this astonishing lack, do so because they do not write, paint, sing, dance, or play musical instruments. They usually tell me this as they put the finishing touches to a bouillabaisse that would make any Cordon Bleu chef yank out his own hair with a melon-baller. People who sheepishly admit to no talent do the most extraordinary things. They crochet miles of blankets, train all the neighborhood dogs to sit/stay, have chickadees land on their outstretched palms, bake birthday cakes in the shape of Lamborghinis, grow dahlias the size of spare tires, and fix dilapidated bicycles.
|Hey! Play Melancholy Baby!|
My mother used to sit figuratively at the feet of anyone who could do something well, and would humble herself to the role of acolyte. Yet nobody in the world could put on a birthday party like she could. She did it all without the modern benefits of clowns, bouncy castles, ponies, or piñatas.
Well do I remember the seventh birthday of my youngest brother. It was in the summer, and we realized to our horror that nobody had thought to check to see of there was a decent potato with which to play “Hot Potato”. Jumping the groove a bit, Mother reached into Dad’s closet and extracted a much worn, ugly, hole-riddled, dreadful running shoe. The game became “Poison Sneaker”. The kids went completely wild with delight and didn’t want to stop playing to eat the birthday cake. “Poison Sneaker” became a fixture in the birthday party repertoire of our neighborhood. Dad wasn’t as amused as we were, but I guess you just can’t have everything.
|Happy Birthday to yooooooooooooooooooo|
Mom could also roll her eyes about like Lucille Ball. Hey! You never know when a talent like that will come in handy.
Like Mother, my sister Liz doesn’t think she is particularly talented either. You should see the dog coats she has designed. Our own brown mutt sported a winter design of faux leopard with champagne satin lining! Liz also created some of the truly great Halloween costumes for her two sons. Kids liked to visit her place the week leading up to Halloween because of the sense of the macabre she could impart. In a certain box marked “parts” were the decorations for the season. Inside the box were heads, arms, hands, skeletons, fingers, rats, spiders, and the usual cast of characters. Her two favourites were the body parts and the three-foot high rat that had eyes that lit up. She put it by the circular staircase just inside the front door. It sat on an Aubusson rug. One Halloween week we were having one of our twice-weekly marathon phone sessions when all of a sudden she hollered, “Boys! Who left the severed arm on my sewing basket? It’s supposed to be in the fruit bowl. “ You had to be there I guess.
People sing, play instruments, speak, knit, sew, crochet, paint, pray, dig, garden, clean, comfort, cook, sew, design, figure out fund raising schemes, write and sculpt. Some work well with youth, some with the troubled and others with shut-ins.
Talent is everywhere and every single person has it for one application or another. The problem as far as I can see is that we don’t have confidence in our own talents. To put it another way, we don’t have faith that what we can do is anything special and so, we hide those lights under whatever bushels come to hand. We bury our talents and scuff the dirt with the toe of our boot. There is a big difference in using a talent to gain attention and applause, and using it to be of help and use. In so doing, we learn, grow, and exercise our spiritual muscles. Dig those talents up and dust them off. You just never know what another will find uplifting and comforting.
My own children wouldn’t go quietly to bed unless I imitated a bloodthirsty pirate complete with eye patch. My daughter still asks me to do this for her. She thinks it is quite a talent. Go figure.
|Sleep tight sweety!|