I have often heard friends say, "Your sister sings so beautifully. I wish I had a talent" or "Your daughter writes amazing poetry. I don't think I have any talent. If I do, I don't know what it is."
We often envy others their beautiful gifts: singing, art, dancing, writing, sewing or cooking. Those talents have tangible results that we can hear or see or taste. But everyone has talents. They are just not always obvious until we think about them.
Talents are gifts from God. He gives them to us. It is up to us to discover them and then use them to uplift others. But we often go through life appreciating the talents of others and never exploring our own.
We may not be architects or surgeons or opera singers, but we do have gifts to share. Here are some that are not always considered to be talents:
Have you ever come across someone that seemed to hang on every word you said? They listen with such intent and when you leave them you feel like a million bucks. They make you feel important and special and witty. Listening is an art. It is a talent that more people should develop.
Both making others laugh and laughing at the humor of others is a wonderful gift. Laughing at your own mistakes, laughing at jokes that others tell, even when they tell it wrong and sharing funny stories with others is a real gift. Laughter is vital to our health and well-being.
So many of us rush through our busy lives, only considering what gets us through and never taking the time to think of others. This is a gift I have to pray for and train myself at. Stopping to examine others and consider what we can do for them to help them through their day is a blessed talent.
Being able to reach out and put your hand on someone's shoulder or hug them or hold their hand through a difficult time is a lovely gift. It is one that so many feel uncomfortable with, but the impact it can have on another human being is incalculable. People who have lost a spouse to death or divorce, the elderly, and others who don't routinely receive daily hugs and kisses can greatly benefit from a gentle, loving touch.
This is almost a lost art. Watch the next time you go through a check-out line. People are almost afraid to make eye contact. But when someone is able to look you in the eye, it means that they are actually engaging with you, one human being to another. This is an increasingly rare talent and one we can all practice.
One of my favorite relatives, my Aunt Jan, would always interview me when we saw one another. "Now, Becky Lyn, what is new with you? Are you seeing anyone? How are your children? What are you working on? How have you been feeling?" All of these questions not only made me feel special, they caused me to actually stop and think about my life.
Remembering and using names
This is another example of her caring. She always started out her interview by calling me by my name. When you remember someone's name and use it, they feel elevated as a human being. This is a talent we can learn, develop and use often. Remember the names of those who serve you and use it. Your bank teller, postal delivery person, children's teachers, newspaper carrier, grocery clerk, librarian or anyone else you see routinely will appreciate immensely you remembering their name and using it.
Not engaging in one-upmanship
Allowing others to tell you their troubles without always having to outdo them is a talent. Sometimes people just need to express their troubles without having them minimized.
Being able to count your blessings is a huge talent. Acknowledging that your blessings come from God and sharing that message with others is a gift.
The ability to point out any of the above talents to those who don't think they have them and then letting them know how much it means to you is probably one of the best talents there is.
We should all pay closer attention to those around us and notice the little things they do that cheer us. Then we should tell them how much we appreciate them and their talent. Help them to understand that what they do counts and is a real gift.