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That we are meant to give.

Some gifts are favored over others. A hypersensitivity to rainbows and poetry may not be as well regarded as accounting and marketing. We artsy types know what we’re up against. We know our gifts are hard to give to the world with its eyes on efficiency.

I subscribe to the idea that we are born with gifts that under good circumstances will unfold over a lifetime. I think of Pablo Casals’ response to the question of why he still practiced his cello at the age of 90. “I think I’m making progress,” he said. That’s a man giving his life to his gift, organizing his earthly existence around it.

I would be surprised if anyone born came into this world without at least one gift. Our job is to discover and nurture them. For a few people that’s easy, but for most of us it involves some struggle.

You may have a gift the world around you doesn’t understand or want. That situation will require you to make an effort for your reason to live.

Usually there is a mix of encouragement and discouragement as you learn to value what is in you from birth. Sensitive children can be persuaded that they’re wrong and become inured to the suffering of not being who they truly are. I believe most of the discouragement comes from those who were raised to deny their own gifts.

Sometimes we think our gifts are common attributes everyone shares. We don’t see their uniqueness. We don’t value or protect them. We neglect them.

Teachers and parents have to be astute observers of children in their care to be able to see and nurture the gifts those children may not value or realize they have. I have a lot of respect for adults who can do that.

We have to do battle for our gifts, in my opinion. I think we have to resist the pressure put upon us to be what we can’t be in this lifetime. We can only be ourselves, we have to respect and love our gifts and give them water to grow.

We have to learn to fend off pressure to be ersatz little robots, programmed by a world too interested in shiny objects. Safety that requires you to give up your soul is a dastardly trap.

Those of us interested in rainbows and flowers may have to learn how to fight for ourselves.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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