I took over 1,000 pictures in the two weeks I was traveling. I didn’t have time to look at them each day, mostly just click and go. I was pretty sure I was a genius though, I was amazed at my newfound gift. I was a photographer. I mean really who wouldn’t be with the scenes before me? The mountains clearly took up many of my shots but I became obsessed with the individual grasses of the prairies in Kansas, the tiny dots of color that made up the wildflower hills in Colorado. Cows have always been a favorite so their glistening skin definitely caught my eye and my viewfinder. Windmills, remnants of old mines, cables abandoned long ago all became art in my eyes and I was sure, in my camera. I envisioned huge canvas prints of wheat, of cacti, of nature gracing my walls. Glorious. Only not so much. I was given amazing views but not amazing gifts as a photographer.
My daughter is an artist. So is Janet. They don’t understand that I am not, maybe that everyone is not. I have watched both take pencils, chalk, paint and turn paper into glory. I turn paper into indecipherable disasters, there is no art from my hands. My brain cannot communicate the beauty it sees to a solid representation. The road is blocked if it was ever built. Just not my gift.
At church there is a young woman who sings like God is pouring out of her soul. I sing along with her but real quietly. God prefers it that way. So do all those sitting close by. My desire is strong, my gift is not in singing. My children can attest. I loved when they were little and they knew no better. I sang rather loudly then, a very long time ago.
My chef can run through numbers and talk to anyone about anything. Neither of these are strong places for me. I am okay with math, not scared, actually more afraid of people than fractions. Clearly my gifts are not found here.
Everyday I tell my Plum he is my favorite. “I know, gran,” comes the exasperated reply. “But how do you know?” I query. “Because you tell me all the time.” I still figure it is worth repeating because soon enough he will figure out there are many things he is not so great at. He will search for his gifts in a world that pushes for conformity, being quiet, going along. It takes courage to sing loud, to try out and keep trying out, to paint and draw even when your pictures are different from everyone else. My Plum asks what I am good at. This gives me pause. I want to demonstrate for him positive self-esteem but I’m not good at that. I ask what he thinks. “You are good at being smart and being my gran.”Right then I realize I may never take a wall hanging worthy picture, may never doodle an identifiable tree, may always be awkward in social situations, but I have mastered the most important gift God ever gave to me. I rock as a gran. I might even sing a song about it. Quietly.