Christmas is not long past. If we were lucky, some of the presents we received during that festive season are still useful. If we were especially favored, some of them will be treasured way beyond Christmases to come. Presents are wonderful and whether you like them or not, are indicative of a level of thoughtfulness and generosity on the part of the giver.
What about those gifts of yours – not from a friend or loved one. The ones you have because you were blessed with them at birth. Or the ones you have because you painstakingly cultivated them. Or those gifts that you have but have not truly acknowledged their existence? This is a new year, with tons and tons of opportunities. What will you do with your gifts this year?
Practically speaking, we can readily identify our Christmas presents. The cash we received, the pack of 3 argyle or tube socks, a coveted book, the latest gadget, a nifty makeup set, or if we were really lucky, a fancy new car, an appliance with all the bells and whistles, etc. etc. Regarding the less tactile gifts, sometimes it is not that easy to identify those. Or to utilize them for that matter. It is said that each person is born with at least one gift; a.k.a one talent. Maybe that is so. What is undeniable is the unique perspective each of us has. By virtue of our “history,” our experiences and our individuality – what we have inside ourselves and what we can offer to others… if we choose, is vastly different from one individual to the next.
Those Christmas presents were chiefly given with the intent of the donor to be utilized and enjoyed by the recipient, on a personal level. Your other gifts, the innate ones, the cultivated ones, the acquired ones, even the ones you relentlessly pursued just because you wanted to “own” them – what are you doing with them now? What do you plan to do with them, this year or next? Do you plan to share them? pass them on? show others how they too can acquire similar gifts?
What of their value? Do you value your gifts? Do you consider them as meaningful as your Christmas presents, say? The gifts that you thought positively hideous may be stashed at the very back of your drawer, closet, cabinet, garage or attic. The value of your Christmas presents is easily ascertained. Either you like them or you do not. As for our gifts, how we categorize them and the value we bestow on them depends on a whole host of variables.
Our confidence level is one variable that affects the value and use of our gifts. Being told that “you should not,” “you can’t,” “you are not worthy,” “wait,” “now is not the right time,” ” maybe next never….” these and other similar negative cautionary declarations are confidence busters.
An unidentified, unrecognized, or undeclared gift can lie dormant for years; a lifetime even. Far be it from you to be so egotistical as to declare to yourself or to the world that you are gifted! Oftentimes, it is the watchful eye of a keen observer and thoughtful acquaintance that notes the existence of your gift and calls your attention to it. Sometimes, it is their insistence that forces you to relent and pay attention to your gifts.
Time is yet another variable that often weighs heavily against or in favor of the value and or use of our gifts. The demands and pressures of life often bar or sideline the development and maturation of our gifts. Jobs, families, lack of financial wherewithal; the time required to attend to these obligations often rob us of any significant number of hours to devote to pursuing our gifts to their rightful end…. wherever that lies.
The value variable cannot be overstated. No school or university champions gifts. Is there an academic curriculum anywhere that offers courses designed to develop and build students’ gifts? The “gifted” child is what only a handful of families across the country or across the world is blessed with. This should be the norm in every household!
Yet, there are those who have figured out a way to identify the name and nature of their gifts. They have carved out the time necessary to pursue that gift. The obstacles, naysayers, self-doubt, lack of resources, a meager allotment of time, physical or emotional obstacles, mountains of rejections and or put-downs….. these troupers folded all these “negatives” like Arab tents and as silently, tucked them away.
What say you? What is your gift? What, pray tell, are you going to do with it? This week, this month, this year?