In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways. Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of talent.
Talent is something that people tend to think they have none of or they do not see what others see in them as a talent they have. Talent is also something that can be quite the opposite and be something that people thing they have the best of, that no one can be better. Neither of these are good for us. Everyone has a talent of something they can contribute to the world, but we need to make sure that even when we know it we are not gloating of the things we are really good at. Then there is a balance between people knowing your talents and sharing them with the point it becomes too much. So what are your talents, how can you use them, and what roles do they play in various parts of life? Well, here is my story on these thought-provoking questions.
I used to think that there was not much talent to me, but the first thing that opened myself up was the fact I went to Girl Scout camp. When I became a staff at the camp, I discovered that I was able to support the other staff, do real well at taking care of my cabin of girls, and just being a good presence at the camp. The ability to become an emergent leader was appearing in me, as well as doing very well at the games. I love games, no questions, hands down. The thing, though, that came with these “talents” of mine was the needing to start looking at time I spend focusing each of my talents for who they are for.
This carried into my college life. As I posted in my last post, managing time and where I put my time is vital to my relationship with the God three in one, my vocation, and my ministry. Recognizing and developing the talents I have is important as well. This is connection I started to really notice and came to work on more during my senior year of college. Sure, I was doing that throughout all of my college career, but junior year leading into senior year it was more predominant. By time senior year came and was going, I was always looking to help in campus ministry and did almost everything at campus masses. By everything I mean I was a liturgical coordinator, lector, Eucharistic Minister, altar server, greeter, and I sang in the choir. There was rarely a mass that went by that I was at that I did not do something unless I asked someone to take my place. The thing it, I wanted to make sure everything was taken care of, so I did what I was assigned and even subbed in when others would not when people were gone. I loved it and I was good at it. Our campus minister came to rely on me to make sure things were happening at mass and problems were solved so that she could better focus on the music aspect of weekend masses. It was great experience and she really pushed me out of my box to do what she knew I could do. There was a real talent there and I was using it for God and the community I was living and praying in. What I had to become aware of was that even though I was good at it all, helping at mass and other campus ministry things, I needed to not engulf my time in just my ministry. I was bogged down more than ever and realized that with the deep struggles I was having, I needed to take time for myself and allow myself to be at mass as well as participate in things with out helping.
Now being out east, I have noticed that some of the things that I loved to do for others and the things I loved to do being on Saint Mary’s campus, I am unable to do. There has come the realization that talent is not just what I share with others, but again, something I share with myself and with God. Not all talent is visible to the world. Something I was being taught to develop in college has more fully come to my awareness. I have a certain talent of being able to be in the moment, be a silent presence to others and for myself. To be able to take the time to focus in on my relationship with God, with Jesus, and with the Spirit is not an easy thing that came to me. Knowing when I need those moments of peace and quiet or my christian music blaring so I can jam is in some aspect, a talent. This may all be strange to you, but I believe it is good to look at these aspects as well.
There are of course many talents that I wish I could have. I am a very behind the scenes person, or being strange in a skit person. I love being the person who is present to those who are needing someone to pray for them or to lend a ear or even some kind true words. There is the desire to be able to share my story with people in giving talks/presentations in front of people, being more comfortable with standing in front of others as well as being able to express myself in words more clearly. I do have a lot to share, but I wish I was a bit more brave. Now, if you look at what is said in the commandments, we are not to covet our neighbors goods. Does this include talents we wish we had? I think if we wish for them in a healthy way, which includes developing them, then it is okay. We must not just wish we had some trait or talent, but rather if we want it, we must work towards it. It is also important to know that we are all given different talents to use at different times.
Looking now to my preparation for formation to hopefully become a sister, I ponder where talent fits in with it all. Going back to how I worked at a camp, I loved being there and the girls seemed to really love me (I am not saying this with an ego, it has been said to me as well). Parents would tell me that there girl was wondering the whole drive to camp if Speedy (my camp name) was going to be there. Through that, I knew I had a talent of being a camp counselor despite how other staff and higher ups would treat me and others. With the Salesians, they work primarily for the youth in camps, retreats, youth centers, school, ministry, and wherever else the youth are. It suits me…minus the teaching this which terrifies me. Being able to develop my talents and use them within the religious community is important to me, but I need to be mindful of what is expected in the community, not overstepping anything or anyone and adjusting. Being aware of and not letting go of what I am good at and cherish is something I will need to be sure of. This too, of course, comes with stipulations. God calls us continually to different things in different ways, while maintaining the strand that hold us together as a person. In feeling a pull for religious life, things will change, and being open is so important, as it is in everything in life. I pray that I may realize my talents as they are in my life and know when the appropriate time for expressing them is.