My 6-year-old granddaughter thinks I am awesome because I can reach into the refrigerator and retrieve two eggs using only one hand. “Wow, Grandma!” she said. “I wish I could do that!” I then encouraged her to show me something special that she could do. She proceeded to whistle (sort of) and snap her fingers (almost) at the same time. I praised her accomplishments. We all want to be good at something.
A problem arises, however, when a person fails to discover and develop his or her own gifts and instead focuses upon and envies those talents possessed by other people. I am wowed by Barbra Streisand’s voice. I love watching Dame Judi Dench and Sir Anthony Hopkins perform in British-based movies. I am moved to tears by the inspiring works of prolific Christian writers like C. S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers. My life is richer because these people have taken their God-given abilities, honed and perfected them, and shared them with me.
A great singer, actress or writer I will never be. If I make mastering one of those arts my life’s ambition, I will be disappointed. I do enjoy singing though, during worship services and while doing chores around the house. The fact that no one would pay money to hear me sing does not grieve me. I will never be on the stage or in movies, but I can play act with my grandchildren all day long, and though I don’t expect to write a best-seller, I do derive pleasure from turning out these little slice-of-life essays that you are kind enough to read.
Frank McCourt, who won a Pulitzer prize for his biographical novel, Angela’s Ashes, gives this advice: Find what you love and do it. Other people have stated this same principle in other words: Be your own kind of beautiful. Bloom where you are planted. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
This tendency of ours to demean and diminish the quality of our own abilities while lauding those of others reminds me of a story I heard recently. A particular man was the father of three strong, healthy sons. His life was incomplete though, he said, because what he really wanted was a daughter. This man was blinded by what he considered a deprivation and could not see the blessings he already possessed. We all need to focus less upon having what we want and focus more upon wanting what we have.
So, sing, act, write, dance, paint, garden, quilt, teach, refinish old furniture, ride horses, play the spoons or do whatever it is you love to do. Honor God and bless others by doing with energy and a grateful heart that which you enjoy and can do well.
At the risk of being a braggart, I will tell you that in addition to my finesse in handling eggs, I do have other skills. I can crack open a peanut with one hand and can even tie shoelaces without having first to make bunny ears. Eat your heart out.