Saturday, August 8, 2009

Who's Got Talent?

Warning: There really isn't a point to this post...it's just the ramblings of my brain today.

Isn't it amazing how many different talents there are? I can think of each of my friends and think of their talents...and they are all unique. Aly is amazing at making cakes, just take a peek at her cake blog. She is also so kind. Shannon is an amazing photographer and a speech language pathologist and bilingual. Brenda is an amazing teacher, and a true friend. Liz is an amazing runner and has such an adventurous spirit. Sonja is so smart and well read and so easy to talk to. I used to just drop in at her house regularly and she would always make time to talk to me and made me feel like she could totally relate to whatever I was going through. I could go on and on--and would but it's getting late. I have such amazing and talented friends...good at music(like Emily and others), dancing (like Sara), sports (like Heather), camping (like many of you), baking, photography, etc.

When I was a kid, I was always at the top of my class. I was reading way above grade level. If you'd asked me in high school what I was good at, I would have said having a positive attitude and school/being smart. I was one of the smartest people I knew, and I remember feeling somewhat threatened by a boy who moved in (Josh) who was clearly smarter than me and had a larger vocabulary than me. (We were friends, sort of. But later became better friends during college.) Then I went to college and my freshman year at BYU I was in the honors dorm. Wow! That was an experience. I was surrounded by people who were as smart as me...and many who were clearly much smarter. It was fun and exciting, and also a little bit scary. If I wasn't that smart (compared to so many others), then for goodness sake, what were my talents? What was special or good about me? In some ways, I felt like I had to reinvent myself...or at least my conception of myself. So how did I do it? Well, I tried some new things, many of which I was not good at. (Guitar and watercolor painting to name just two.) But also a few that I was. I continued to work hard in school and prepared myself so that I would be a good teacher, and I'm pretty sure I am, although there's always ways to improve and there have been bumps on that road. I read a lot and continue to do so. But mostly, I prayed that I could figure out who I was. I don't always know who I am, but the Lord does. And slowly, I caught glimpses of who I was and who I could be. That's always the best way to gain self-awareness (but caution...it's not always an easy or fun path.)

But it's definitely a process. Sometimes I feel comfortable in my own skin and feel good about what I'm doing and where I'm headed. But there are times that it is easy to look at these other talented women (and men) around me and feel like I don't measure up. I wish I was a better baker. I wish I took better photos. I wish I wasn't such a klutz and could play sports or dance. I wish I could sew. I wish I was more adventurous. But mostly, I wish I was more confident and better organized. But I think, ultimately, we should learn to recognize our own gifts and talents and be grateful for them. We should not compare ourselves to others. And above all, I've come to realize that many talents are not the ones that others can see...that leadership, kindness, being a good listener, being a peacemaker, advocating for others, being a good teacher, being humble are all gifts. Maybe we (I?) should take a moment now and then to reflect on what gifts we (I) have and to work to develop them.