Friday, May 20, 2011


Last week, the Relief Society teacher in my ward asked if I'd share a few words about developing talents. She also asked if I'd share something I had written. I was really hesitant at first, then decided it was too hypocritical to get up and talk about how I've been trying to develop and grow a talent as a writer and not be willing to share, so this is what I wrote: Enjoy.

As a teenager, my paternal grandfather laid his withered hands on my head and softly uttered my Patriarchal blessing. In it, he specifically advised me to ponder the parable of the talents. For years, I would pray extra hard before reading that section of Matthew, half-expecting a secret word to appear in the margins or an esoteric pattern to emerge containing the secret to my life. I soon wearied of not finding answers between the lines and resorted to resting my thoughts on the parable every few months, after a lesson on Talents. Always questioning myself. Which character was I? Did I have five talents? Two? One? and a dusty one at that? As life has wizened me up some, I’ve realized I am all three.

I am the wicked and slothful servant, too embarrassed to even keep a talent in my pocket, to gingerly jingle occasionally as a reminder of what I’d been given. Instead, I throw it down a deep ditch, away from sight. As a child, I loved to write. But, I excelled at Math. And, in a world where early on we must declare ourselves either a numbers nerd or a lover of the arts, I followed the yellow brick road of A’s to a degree in Finance, burying my love of words deeper and deeper along the way.

Then, two years ago I took a risk. Some friends had started a writer’s group and I got out my proverbial shovel and asked if I could come to one of their meetings. And then, then I did something even more daring. I asked if I could come back! And I haven’t missed a meeting since. Over the last two years we have shared the silly and the saintly, laughing and crying, always to the tune of some delicious refreshment, of course. (We are proper Mormon girls).

Word by living word, I have cautiously, painfully, and sometimes by the shovelful, dug out my buried talent. It is starting to live again. Breathe. I sculpt it as best I know how. Realizing I am giving life to my thoughts, so safely tucked inside my head before. Allowing for hurt, shame, and rejection and calling it ‘pruning’.

I am also the servant given two talents, so prone to stare into the deadly mirror of comparison. Two vs. five, always coming up short. Only when gratitude appears do I get to work improving what I’ve been given.

And then, I am the servant given five talents. But, life sometimes requires different talents than those naturally given. My original five did not include a very nurturing spirit, a natural affinity towards motherhood, a love of cleaning or an ability to Betty Crocker my way through whatever is in the fridge. So, I’ve put my five talents to work, trading, earning, learning, gaining new albeit, not-so-natural, talents. Because, in the end, it will not matter whether the talents were given or earned, the Savior will not distinguish. Yes, at that day He will say, “Well done. You have stretched until it stung, you have blessed others until you broke. Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. (Matthew 25:21).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Inhaling gingerly, I squinted my eyes and braced myself as I answered, “I read it on Facebook.”

“Oh, thank goodness for Facebook!” my husband said, sarcasm dripping like an ice-cream cone in the hands of a two-year old. “How would we ever learn anything worth knowing without Facebook!”

I could almost feel his eyes rolling, even though he was in the next room.

Later on, as I tried to find the shut down button on my brain’s computer so I could sleep, I thought about what he had said, sarcasm notwithstanding. I could learn a good week’s worth of information from Facebook in the time it took me to eat my morning bowl of yogurt and granola. Just that day, I had found out my little sister was scheduled the next day for an induction on her seventh baby. And, I didn’t find out from her. It was my cousin who was posting on her wall, wishing her good luck.

I got over 60 birthday wishes last year on my birthday. Sixty! I’d have to celebrate a decade of birthdays in my life before Facebook to receive that many different wishes! I schedule my visiting teaching appointments through Facebook, remind our babysitter when we’ll be picking her up, find out which friends are pregnant, and catch up on everyone’s lives.

But, it’s not just about reconnecting with friends, it’s about connecting in general. From the comfort of my not-so-comfortable chair, I can talk, at my own leisure, about current events, weather woes, health issues, and parenting tips with people who have been a part of my life over almost four decades and just as many continents.

It’s not a perfect social world. I still prefer face-to-face interaction. But, I don’t have to put on makeup or even wear a bra to get on Facebook. I can play the game of social banter, coming up with witty posts, commenting as cleverly as I can, and racking up points. But, first, I have to go to the bathroom.

Thirty percent of women read Facebook before they go to the bathroom in the morning. It’s true.

I read it on Facebook.

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