You may have seen this video recently. It is of a homeless veteran named Donald Gould who takes advantage of a cultural program in Sarasota Florida that places pianos in public settings.
This and other such videos can be very moving. For me, they are also humbling. How often do I judge by appearances and make inferences about character and ability? How often do I pause and wonder “What gifts are within this person? What would happen if he/she had an opportunity to share that gift?” Sadly I am more inclined to do the former.
Mr. Gould also challenges me to examine what I often profess to believe — that we are all gifted in some way, each and every one of us. It is no challenge for me see as gifted the artist of the beautiful painting in front of me or the bagpipe player intoning “Amazing Grace” or the actor moving me to tears with a monologue from “Our Town”. But can I also apply my supposed belief to the homeless man smelling of liquor who asks me for a dollar? Can I see him as gifted? Can I see as gifted the elderly man caught in the long slow death of Alzheimer s’ as he rants and rages? Can I consider that the neighbor who annoys me with his barking dogs and loud music also has gifts? Can I be open to the possibility that any of these people, given an opportunity, would suddenly blossom just as Mr. Gould does?
The ultimate challenge is to apply this belief to myself. Is the thought that I am gifted laughable? If not, how often do I hide my light out of fear of ridicule or rejection?
We are all gifted. I do believe that with my heart and soul. We are called to live those gifts to the best of our ability. And, most especially, we are called to help one another embrace those gifts through encouragement and the provision of opportunity.
1. How well do you live out of your gifts? Are there ways you help others embrace their gifts?