I chose the emptied toy room, the furthest room from all the action, as my writing space. Moving games, spy gear, costumes, shelves full of feathers and balloons and old nerf bullets to create my own space with a door, a place of solitude, a clear message to my family. A commitment, an investment, utter selfishness with newly hung pictures of old trips and a scattering of tidbits that are meaningless to anyone else, my sanctuary. Mostly words surround me, scripture on little signs, words of empowerment or calls to action, letters in a Scrabble box. Baskets of correspondence, cards yet to be sent, scraps of paper from long ago lists, I am comforted by letters arranged into words, words into sentences, order created from scribbles, rich meaning mined from the jottings. I don’t imagine I will ever write or say something worthy of a mass produced sign, I don’t aspire to such greatness. My ambition is lesser, to sit undetected in my little room surrounded by words and arrange my own alphabet into meaning for me. I have finally accepted that this is my gift, I no longer shy away from owning it, I don’t have to be the best writer to know that what is in me comes from God and is enough.
Some people see the world in colors, a rich array beyond the primary lot, they notice the shadows and the blues in the yellows, the black in the orange. I will never notice those, I have no gift for the deeper appreciation of layers, of hues that build on each other to create the beauty and glory that ultimately a non-artist just knows is good stuff. I silently edge close to those with these gifts, wondering how my world would change if only I were capable of seeing more, deeper.
Others see in numbers, quickly able to compute and assess, to formulate and distribute. Numbers jumble in my mind, I lose count when scooping measures of beans for my morning grind of coffee. Not that I can’t count to six, I lose focus, I day dream just that quickly. Was it 3 or 4? The brew today will either be extra strong or weak, a coffee adventure each morning. I wish I were capable of quickly determining the percentage off price or the long term cost or the needed sales to hit the goal, except I have a Chef who can do this so I mostly stick to scooping coffee in the morning and arranging my letters into words.
Other people see the world in connections, in relationships. They find the webs that join, delight in discovering the missing links. These people shine in groups, marvel with the many. I watch these people from afar, lurking on the fringes. I envy their joy in relations, I am jealous of their easy smiles. Proficient at drawing in, I notice when their gifts are aimed at me, I know I am being pulled and am helpless to resist. These people build bridges for all of us to cross.
Musicians who hear the world are the furthest from my skill set. They notice sounds and something called harmony, melody, tune and tones, meaningless mixtures of scribbles on paper to me. Finished products though, I adore what music can do to my soul. I know God speaks to me through the notes and voices of those who are gifted with music. I inch closer to those who sing, play instruments, a groupie at church who looks right into the eyes of those who bring song to us all. I adore musicians, I sing quietly and try not to mess up what they bring.
Millions of gifts, talents, personalities, each as individual as snowflakes, designed not to be more beautiful or worthy than the one before but to shine together, to blanket the winter ground with light so bright and glorious night feels like day. I’ve been thinking about the Genesis story a great deal, the very beginning of us all. Creation out of the void, how the story begins. It gets pretty messy from there, choices disturb the simplicity of God’s plan. Light, water, people, creatures, vegetation, so simple. From the very beginning each were endowed with a gift, a purpose, that they could embrace and share or ignore with dire consequences. Jealously over the talent or power of others laid gifts to waste throughout the rest of the Bible and in our current newscasts and social media feeds. That damn snake who brought temptation and doubt and longing for more, fear that what Eve had was not enough, resides is us all, as if the bite of the apple changed our DNA to include snakiness. A certain serpent-like inability to glory in the gifts of others without the accompanying doubt about our own, an asp-ish quality that means we forget about collaboration and see only competetion instead.
What if we start again, before the fall, before the bite and the blaming and the realization of what we aren’t and what others are? What if today we begin as if we walk in the garden filled with the knowledge of only God’s unfailingly love, the surety that we are enough, that we are so cherished that all of our needs are provided and we have a purpose? What if today is the day we give our gift openly and freely to the world because we know it isn’t from us but from God and we trust He wants it out there to care for the creatures, to feed the people, to make music and count the fish and build bridges and create art? What if today is the day the Lord had made and we rejoice together in each other and the portion in ourselves that is God?
What would you do with today if fear and doubt and judgement didn’t exist? Not good enough doesn’t exist in God’s garden. Let’s go for a walk in our inner Edens today and bring our gifts out to play. Will you join me?