Quite often we find ourselves in early December looking for that “perfect gift” for someone. We spend hours searching through websites, stores, lists, and infomercials. We spend this time all for the sake of seeing that special someone’s face light up as they open the most wonderful present! What a great feeling!
In this season of giving we tend to also feel more motivated to give to the people we don’t know, in addition to our friends and family. We drop change in the donation buckets, volunteer for a needy cause, or perhaps adopt a less fortunate family. It’s easy for us to give because engrained in us is a hope that this giving will somehow change the world. That these small series of events will compound to create a ripple effect and transform lives.
Yet are you really giving your best to the world? What if we told you the ultimate gift has always been inside of you? You see, each of us has the most unique and spectacular mix of talents and skills within us. Trouble is, we don’t recognize or acknowledge then and often take for granted how significant these gifts truly are.
Consider the story of Anna Mary Robertson. She loved embroidery and throughout her life had become quite good at it. Embroidery was a hobby she very much enjoyed but after developing arthritis in her seventies embroidery became so difficult that she finally had to give up her beloved hobby at the age of 78. Yes, it’s sad I know, but the story doesn’t end there.
Instead of just sitting around doing nothing or lamenting the loss of this activity she decided to try something new. She founds some paints and a piece of heavy cardboard and without any experience or any lessons began to paint. She was happy to find something that she enjoyed just as much as her embroidery and people told her that her paintings were quite good. She decided to put them on display at the local drugstore.
Well who would have guessed just how popular her paintings would become? Before the end of her life she painted over 1,000 paintings, depicting rural life in the New York town she called home, painting from memory the life she knew. You would most likely recognize Anna’s paintings if you saw one. She has since become known worldwide for her prolific output and kindly country persona, and today is one of the most famous American folk artists of the 20th century. I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that Anna Mary Robertson is also known as Grandma Moses. I shudder to think what the world would have missed had Anna not followed her passion and drive and tried something new after being forced to give up her needlework. She didn’t let age, or experience, or money, or what others thought, stop her from following her heart’s desire. And while I doubt a Grandma Moses painting ever brought about world peace, I know many were inspired by her work in other ways and most likely we will never really know the effects the talent she developed late in her life actually had on the world. Through her paintings and her example she gave her best gift to the world…the world accepted…we will never be the same.
Therein lies a lesson for each of us. What are your hidden talents? What treasure lies deep within you? You can make an impact during this holiday season and beyond by following through on your dreams and freely giving your greatest gifts. Begin today.
The Soul Sisters