I’ve had two conversations with people recently who both, for different reasons, could not see or appreciate the gifts they were blessed with. They saw themselves as lacking in some way, lacking achievement, lacking purpose, lacking direction, lacking skill or talent.
This was remarkable because they are blessed with beautiful gifts that are so apparent to me, gifts that have so deeply enriched my life and I know the lives of others. One, for example, manifests the gift of compassion, with a heart that is big enough to care deeply, and a willingness to attend lovingly and without hesitation to the needs of those around her.
The other manifests the gift of connection and welcome, hospitality. She connects people not only to herself, but to others. She welcomes diversity to her table and makes all feel at home. She is a gardener of friendship and tends her garden with creativity and care.
I was surprised that they could not see themselves as so richly valued and valuable when that is how I see them. It occurred to me that that might be true for so many of us. We measure ourselves against very narrow rubrics of success and often overlook the gifts that bring the most benefit. We do not automatically see the impact we have on others unless someone points it out to us. We don’t know what we bring to the table unless someone tells us.
We often hear people at memorial services speak openly and gratefully about the person who is no longer there to hear, who perhaps died not knowing what they meant to someone, or how they helped or made someone’s life a little better. Why do we feel so compelled to speak of someone’s gifts after they are gone, and so hesitant to speak of them to the person while we have the chance?
We are all blessed with gifts, as varied as we are, but all are precious. We share these treasures, knowingly or unknowingly, by our very being. What a gift we could give to others by speaking the blessing of their gifts – naming the gifts, describing them, giving examples, expressing gratitude.
Don’t wait. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could help each other recognize:
I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. ~Walt Whitman