Gifts and Talents

Lughnasa                                                                            Waning Honey Extraction Moon

Kate and I had a conversation the other day about talent.  Two of her sisters make their living playing classical violin.  They have talent.  A lot of it.  BJ went to Julliard and Sarah to Curtis, both academies for topflight talent.  They both graduated and have been able to work using their training.  BJ makes a living as a classical musician in New York City, the hotspot for classical music today in the same way Vienna was at one time in Austria.  Sarah teaches violin and does the occasional solo spot with orchestras of the second tier.

Kate and I had/have above average intelligence and have been able to work making use of  those gifts, Kate in pediatrics and me in various religious, political and artistic positions.

Even so, in all four of our cases, we had enough talent to peer over the transom into the gifted realm, but not enough to participate in it.  This is a ruling contradiction of life, no matter what your level of talent, wealth or status, there is always someone more talented, more gifted, wealthier and higher up the status ladder.  Always.  Even if you’re Itzhak Perlman or Bill Gates or Merrill Streep, you have to contend with Paganini, Andrew Carnegie or Sarah Bernhardt.  History can always serve up an exemplar who achieved more, acted better or accumulated more wealth than thou.

This problem cannot be solved by saying don’t peek, don’t stand on the chair and try to see into the room where the door closed before you.  No, we all peek because we can’t help it.  We imagine, fantasize, try to pull ourselves up a little bit, maybe we can squeeze through, even if it’s only to the room where the jobs pay $15.00.  Or maybe to the room where the cool kids are.  Or the ones with enough food.  Or the Noble Prize.  Or authors with books on the NYT bestseller list.

Here is the one and true solution.  Know thyself.  Work within yourSelf, demanding from that Self the best it has.  Not the best it wishes it had, not the best others seem to have, but the best Self you have.  In this way you offer the world that unique gift, you.

This solution also solves the problem of transom peeking.  You will still wonder, fantasize perhaps, what might have been, but you will not be driven to either envy or despair because you have as much as work as you can handle already.  Being you.

Neither does this mean that you settle for mediocrity, less than the person you have the Self to become.  One of the most negative aspects of envy or despair is the demotivation it produces.  The, if I can’t be like her, or him, then I just won’t bother path.

No, your path, the ancient trail that you must walk is this:  know your Self and follow its lead, only that ancient trail can lead you to the gift only you can offer the rest of us.

Humanity needs all the gifts of the whole species.

We have enormous challenges today.  Climate change.  Hunger.  Religious and racial discrimination.  Wars.  Economic ups and downs.  We cannot afford to leave the talents and vision of even one woman, one ethnicity, one age to waste.

This entry was posted in Aging, Faith and Spirituality, Humanities and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.