We are sitting in a coffee shop that resembles a run down version of Dunkin Donuts but it feels quite like home. I am watching her hand dip down to touch the table several times as she tells me a parable about talents. The story is about a man who gave talents to three of his servants. Two of the servants were wise and went out into the world to multiply their talents. The man was pleased. The third servant became anxious, afraid that he might lose the talent, so he buried it in the ground for safe keeping. The man was not so pleased his servant, for he had given the servant a great talent that was meant to be shared with the world. The servant, too afraid to share his talent, lost it for good.
The story that my good friend tells me over a cup of coffee causes me to think of how easily I could be that third servant. We all could. Some of very well may be him at this very instant. We live in a world where it is scary to come out and admit that we love certain verbs. To dance. To sing. To design. To collect. With the opening of our mouths to proclaim our adoration for a talent that we have we are faced with the potential to be told to forget about it, that we are not good enough, that we are wasting our time.
No One Wants To Be Told They Are Not Good At What They Love. But is fear of being told this worth holding ourselves back from ever just taking a leap?
I grew up with pockets full of fear. Everyday I was fearful of something new: growing up too fast, E.T., needles, losing someone I loved, never being loved, heights and (if anyone can remember these little buggers) I was deathly afraid of the cockroaches on the Sims game (to the point where I stopped playing the game for good).
Although my encyclopedia of fears has a few hundred less pages these days, one fear of mine seems to pervade: I am fearful of writing. When I actually muster up the syllables to tell someone that all I want to do in this lifetime is sew words together I am faced with the accepting that I may very well not be good enough.My stitches may not be tight enough. My sentences may lack a pretty pattern.
To me this is horrifying. It practically paralyzes me with fear to even think about this. Writing, to me, is not a practice of putting words to paper. It is not something that I simply do for fun or because I like alliteration or hitching nouns and adjectives together. Writing, to me, is near sacred. It is when I feel at peace with the world. It is what defines me. Makes Me Whole. Gives Me Fullness. I don’t even believe I am a writer; I am simply someone who adores love letters. Every compilation of syllables and sentences that I mend together is what I deem to be a love letter to someone; be it those who read this blog, a best friend, a boy who took my heart, or my own self. But I don’t want to be told that I am not good enough at it. I don’t want to be the girl who never wrote a worthy love letter to this world.
When we are given a talent we are faced with two paths: we can hoard and hide it away from the world, in fear that someone will tell us that we are deluded to think we ever had a right to call it a “gift,” or we can send it out into the world and just see what happens. Perhaps we fail. Maybe we go beyond proportions of failure and measure up to a fiasco, no one can say for certain that this won’t happen. But I don’t believe I would ever be content with just settling for the first option.
We are silly if we think that our gifts are meant for our arms and our hearts alone. Yes, when we first find them we should hold them close as we teach them to grow and to stand on their own. But what good is a gift if we don’t eventually release it from our arms’ embrace to send it out shining in every direction? Joy Golliver said it best, “The meaning of this life is to find our gifts. The purpose of this life is to give those gifts away.”