Be a blogger they said. You are great with words. You can tell a great story they said. Ok. Sitting down to write great words and tell a great story has proven well, rather difficult. I remember the late Robin Williams telling the story about someone coming up to him on the street and after the obligatory, “I love you” and “you are the funniest person I know” bit, asked him, “Can you say something funny right now?” It is one thing to work on a story or be in a bit of a witty mood. It is quite another to do it on demand.
To be completely honest with the dozen or so who will read this, this single blog has taken over a year to write. I dedicate this to those of you who have great ideas who have turned them into…ideas and nothing more. Is it fear? Laziness? Writer’s block? Depression? Anger? Did I mention fear? Well, if you have any of those, hold my Titos and settle in. Cause I promise you I have you beat.
A gift is only a gift if used. The voice in your head that reminds you of the gift you had…had and never stayed with or fully realized is the curse of unused gifts. Believe you me, that voice in my head has a Motorhead like sound system behind it. It screams and bellows with mountains of amps and speakers behind hit reminding me of the failed gifts never completely developed.
Example 1. I had the gift of music. As a young person, I was the one kid in fourth grade who immediately fell in love with the dreaded recorder. Remember those? Holy cow could I play that thing. I graduated to a hand-me-down clarinet and when that became too easy, I started playing saxophone in high school just to challenge myself. When I mastered that, I joined the choir, because my voice was (and still is) the one instrument I could never quite master. I played solos in church, was first chair in community play orchestras, had an instrument case full of medals and did it all without ever practicing. Begging forgiveness for the pun about to appear, does that story strike a chord with anyone? If so, read on. If not, please read on too. It gets better.
Example 2. The ability to communicate has always come easy for me as well (some of you reading this may beg to differ). I could write a fiction story in school that would make teachers laugh, cry, gnash their teeth with anger and everything in between. Verbally, I have always tried to respect language and vocabulary and can spin a pretty good yarn. “Write a blog” was pretty much all I have heard my friends tell me for years. “Maybe someday” would by my automated reply. So, I dedicated time in my schedule for writing. I researched topics and gave serious pondering to things people may find interesting. I even posted a few when the mood and topic aligned. But to force myself to sit down and write? Nothing. El-blank-o. Then, an amazing thing happened. Something I loved to do became something hated. Speaking to people and writing became (gulp) work. I hate work. I mean, I really hate it. I love fun. I love anything that is voluntary and nothing that is required. The instantaneous second writing left the voluntary side of the paper and migrated to the required side, blammo! What was once loved like a bowl of Spicy Nacho Doritos became cauliflower in an instant.
So, what to do? I began applying for jobs so I wouldn’t have to write. I made excuse after excuse to my self and those I loved as to why the words would not come. Then something extraordinary happened.
Suddenly, I woke up. Here is the explanation. I have been involved in a networking group in my small town for the past 6 years. It is a group of small business owners who meet and pass referrals to each other. This group also gives me a trusted group of businesses to refer my friends and family to. I have made many great friends in the group and had a great deal of fun. The one thing I did not make a lot of was money. This was fine because it was “for my business.” Reality set in right around the same time as covid descended onto our society. When the world started spinning out of control the one thing people decided they did not need was a…life coach? That was strange, but ok, I’ll roll with it. Over the last couple of years things have picked up but not to what it was pre-covid. After a great deal of soul searching, I made the very heartbreaking decision to leave the cocoon of my little networking group. That was today. This morning. After I made my big announcement, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting tears. I wasn’t expecting anything. What I got from the majority of people there was…
Maybe it was surprise. Maybe it was anger. Maybe it was happiness the blowhard was finally leaving. I dunno. A couple people came up to me and wished me well and one set a future breakfast meeting with me but for the most part my lifechanging decision was met with a whole lot of…nothing.
Thank God for that nothing!
Of all the things that could have slapped me back into reality, it took nothing to be the something I needed to come clean. That wonderful group of business leaders I met with every Wednesday morning at 7:00am for six glorious years gave me the greatest referral they could ever give me. They finally woke me up! They gave the referral of awakening. Oh, I never fell asleep during meetings. In all my years a few did but not me. Quick story. A person who will remain nameless was caught dozing in a meeting a few years ago. When someone said their name, instead of being embarrassed or try to pretend they were not sleeping, they simply opened their eyes and said, “Amen. Sorry, I was praying.” We laughed for a long time at that one. Priceless!
Gifts are only gifts if they are used. I am quite sure I said that up there somewhere because I remember writing it. Well, that is not entirely true. Gifts are only gifts if they are given. Let me say that again:
Gifts are only gifts if they are given.
The things I call gifts, or talents that God has given me were never meant for me. Talk about a weird day to realize that huh? Talents become gifts when they are given as gifts to others. I have decided to go all Pete Townshend on those amps and speakers ‘that voice’ used to remind me of my underachieving first half of life. There will be more to come. I have some work to do.