just being

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

Here I am at almost 48 years, and I still find myself thinking about the experiences I have had that have shaped me.  Some are smears of friendships and places and events, where I can't seem to pinpoint dates or details.  But some things stand out in full color.  Full HD. Each of these kinds of experiences has led me to where I am, from my major in college to my marriage, to my now.  But you know what I have always known?  I have always known that God loves me and has things for me to do.  While not necessarily an over-achiever, I have had a sense of purpose for as long as I can remember.  Not an "I am going to change the world" kind of purpose, but more of an, "I can do that and help people while I do" kind. And all of these years later I can finally say I am pretty good at two things that I thought I would mention here, more as an exercise in self-realization than an exercise in bragging.

I am a bridge-builder
From the time I was in junior high school I have had friends from different groups. Somehow I have been able to make friendships just as easily with people that share my interests as with those who don't.  I had friends who hung out in the smoking section at my high school (yup, a note from your parents gave you permission to smoke in a certain courtyard behind the building), friends on my basketball team, friends from choir. And I have had opportunities to bring people together when needed.  I was able to do some of this today as a friend confided in me and asked advice on how to solve a certain concern she has with a mutual friend.

I have my own mind
Although I care about others' opinions of me, I have finally gotten to a place where I can just be.  I am not overly stubborn, but I am not easily swayed either.  I am confident in my interpretations of situations, and feel like I can read people quickly without being judgmental in a negative way.

I believe the Lord has blessed me with these things.  What gifts do you have?

In the Doctrine and Covenants section 46 we read:  11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.  12 To some is given one and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.


Nancy Cowley | March 4, 2012 at 9:27 PM

I love the way you are so comfortable writing about yourself. I am comfortable thinking about myself. Just don't like to write or verbalize my comfort.

heather | March 5, 2012 at 7:26 AM

I like this...

And why do we feel like we can't acknowledge our strengths? Our gifts? We're so quick to notice and high light our weaknesses and flaws... Reading a "These are things I'm good at" post is refreshing.

Bossy Betty | March 5, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Love this! I am grateful for my gift of optimism and my ability to connect with my students.

Heather | March 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM

This post reminded me of one of my favorite quotes that I haven't thought about in a while. "“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” --Marianne Williamson

Stacy | March 5, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I was at a girls' night not too long ago, and we started talking about strengths, and why it is so difficult for us to talk about them. We are raised to be so self-deprecating, refusing to accept compliments or believe that there is anything within us that is worthwhile, and I think that's sad. We are all each give gifts, things that are given to us to benefit the world, and as the quote above says, our playing small doesn't benefit anyone.

I am a good teacher, music and otherwise. And I am, for the most part, good in a crisis.

Welcome to the Garden of Egan | March 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Bridge builder. That is the perfect description of the person I love being with.

There needs to be more of those.

Melanie Jacobson | March 5, 2012 at 12:38 PM

These are pretty powerful realizations. And I think your sense of purpose would make the world go around if more people had that same purpose.

Charlotte | March 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM

I've been thinking a lot lately about the big, course-changing events in my life that were actually pretty nonmonumental at the time.

I love how CS Lewis taught that true humility is accepting our strengths and our weaknesses not false modesty.

wendy | March 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

I guess we'd never learn from each other if we ALL had the same gifts eh.
I think life is a continual process of learning to "be"....
Gosh...My gift??
I have always been told I am a peacemaker.
I hate contention.

Connie | March 5, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I see those things in you.

Unknown | March 6, 2012 at 12:40 AM

You are TOTALLY those things, and about a million more. My gifts? I'm comfortable working with large groups of people. I'm strong enough to be in charge and self-aware enough to realize that I don't have all the answers. I love the scriptures and have always been able to understand them and help others understand them. And for some reason, I attract absolutely amazing friends.

LisAway | March 6, 2012 at 4:50 AM

Oh, how great to recognize those things, and what great strength you have.

When I left home at 17 to go to Ricks, I stayed for summer semester with an English proffessor there, who is a long time family friend (dated my mom). They had kids of all ages, some very brainy, some hanging with the wrong crowd, some in the popular high school scene and some elementary aged. The mother told my mom that she was surprised that I was able to connect with each of them, although they were all so very different. I didn't quite get it. I just liked them all. They were each so awesome in their own way. So I guess I might have a gift of liking people? :)

Lara Neves | March 6, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Accepting my own strengths is difficult. I can readily accept my talents--the ones that don't really matter to my eternal salvation--but the really important things are much harder for me to see or even believe.

I always love reading your insights.

Anonymous | March 12, 2012 at 4:45 PM

HD moments. I'll have to think about mine. You ARE a bridge-builder. I see you connect others. I see how you do it with delicate hands and a soft heart.
That last gift? That's a beautiful gift.