An every day battle to greatness


Talent is a remarkable asset. It sparks admiration and for the talented a sense of accomplishment. “Wow! He can pitch. Look at that ball move.”

“Nobody has a voice like hers. She sounds like an angel.”

It’s such an amazing thing to have talent that those who have a gift are on TV, in magazines, in our lunch conversations, but the even more remarkable trait of this entity is that everyone has it. It can manifest itself in the smallest of ways, along with the most prominent of ways.

Let’s take movie stars, even better Academy Award winners. (I’m a sucker for this stuff. I stay up until the best picture is announced.) Here is a group of extremely talented men and women who hold a special power. The power to make people listen.

It used to make me angry when people would say, ‘Oh, I see we have a problem with this disease or that cause,’ only after a celebrity spokesperson was put on the case. Couldn’t these people see that AIDS needed our attention even before Magic Johnson contracted it or Elizabeth Taylor supported research for it?

But now I see that whatever makes people listen is worth taking part in.

So movies will continue to tackle tough subjects, brought to us by the men and women willing to share their talent with us, to move us in a touching scene, to inspire us to greatness, if only for a moment, but hopefully that moment won’t be fleeting.

Celebrities come in all packages, tall and large, old and young, small and petite, some share their wisdom, some simply make us laugh, some are probably really nice, some — as in life — may be less than nice, but they’re all people, just like you and me.

So what’s our talent? How are we going to share our gifts?

I’d like to think that my contribution will be through the written word — to inspire others to love themselves, love others, and see all the magnificence of life — to know that God is there right beside us every step of the way, hoping we do our best, so our road will be much traveled by love, friendship and the Holy Spirit.

But … that remains to be seen as here I am sharing my personal thoughts for the first time.

I do know that my gifts go way beyond anything I could ever write. My actions — we all know they speak louder than words — are the telltale sign of my love for God. Our greatest gifts, our most useful talents, come from inside, placed there by God, nurtured by our parents and family. What we do with them is what really matters. Our goal, in this daily battle, is to make our Father proud.

But here I am the first to admit that I struggle with this every day. Love thy neighbor as thy self — literally? — respect, care for, forgive — whoa! — everybody?

“But that girl hit me with the baseball bat — so I was standing a little close — but still, I got stitches and have a scar on my lip. It was only 12 years ago!” But what the heck, I forgave her. After all it was Memorial Day — the first day the neighborhood pool opened and the first time I didn’t cry over getting hurt, and this was much worse than falling off my bike!

That was easy! It’s the other subtle things that people do to you — and, oh yes, that voice in your head screams, “Hey, he did that to ME!” They may not realize they did anything to hurt your feelings — that part of yourself so easily broken — or they may have intentionally caused harm — we all have at times.

Forgive? Yes, we must. In the big scheme of things we know our heads make it bigger than it is.

So we forgive and forget — can’t leave that out, it’s the hardest part. We love our neighbor, yes, as far as I’m concerned, literally, as ourselves. We respect others and their belongings. We thank God each day for the smallest thing we have and pray he be with us, fill our souls, so that we may share our gifts with others.

Some of us make others laugh, some just listen, some inspire, some know just the perfect time for a hug or a smile or when to be simply a companion.

Whatever your talent may be, be sure to share it with your neighbor.