Talents

Original Photo by  wallyir on Morguefile.com
Original Photo by wallyir on Morguefile.com

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” –Benjamin Franklin

Repairs seem to be the order—or perhaps, the disorder—of the day. While at work this morning, I waited for the repairman to fix the church’s dishwasher, only to come home and find my husband busily working to repair our bathtub faucet. Not a trained plumber, my husband still has the talent for looking at such a problem and being able to find a solution. I, on the other hand, would most likely have to do hours of research in order to be able to even discern the problem. Luckily, opposites do attract.

One of the many benefits of my marriage is living with and loving someone who has vastly different talents than I do. My husband has numerous practical skills that I seem to lack, or perhaps just haven’t developed. He loves everything technical and mechanical, easily taking apart a radio, for instance, and finding its problems. Woodworking and even metalwork aren’t farfetched when it comes to his abilities either. He’s one smart cookie as I often say.

Obviously, learning to appreciate our differing talents has been a blessing to our relationship. Even as our skills grow and change over time, we readily compliment and utilize the other person’s talents. As we’ve gotten older and our relationship has changed, we realize that there’s no need for competition within our marriage. God has blessed each of us with our various talents, and we can use them to benefit both of us.

While being married to your opposite can bring about some lively arguments, it can also bring some great opportunities for learning and growth. While I may never reach the technical proficiency of my husband, I can easily let him know just how much I appreciate his work around the house.

I may not be able to fix a faucet or disassemble a television, but I’m certainly capable of expressing my admiration for his efforts and sincerely thanking him for that work.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox on Work

“Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.”
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Spaghetti

Original Photo by MaxStraeten on Morguefile.com
Original Photo by MaxStraeten on Morguefile.com

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” –Dale Carnegie

Throwing spaghetti against a wall or cupboard is one way to see if the pasta is ready to eat. A little messy, but it apparently works. Lately I have been thinking of this technique in relation to my own life; it seems an apt metaphor for life and change. A time of uncertainty—such as unemployment or divorce—can often lead to desperation to produce any sort of positive results. Throwing our passions and talents against a wall, we hope that something sticks.

Admittedly, this sort of period in life won’t necessarily be fruitless. When faced with the loss of comfort, we often find our own creativity or latent talents. For example, a month ago I would not have considered manipulating photographs for a hobby. My husband was the one with visual talent, not me. Too without the immediate need for some sort of employment, I probably wouldn’t have written an article, much less a blog post. My focus was on my work and others’ writing, not my own expression. Both in the areas of writing and photos, I have discovered that I do still have something to share.

However, without an overall plan or vision, the efforts can lead to nothing. So far, mine have resulted in plenty of spam emails, but no real job or contract offers. Perhaps I need to redouble my efforts or refocus them. Or maybe the strands just need to “cook” a bit longer.

As with cooking pasta, continuing with the process is important. Even if work or applications don’t “stick” this time, the efforts may bear fruit at a later date. Unfortunately, as a middle-aged woman with a family, waiting for that future time is much more difficult than it might have been when I was younger. When I fail, I’m not the only one to suffer. My husband and his daughter have to do without, leading to their dissatisfaction and resentment. The desire to avoid this and a natural lack of patience lead to my desire for results now.

Perhaps, though, age and responsibility bring some benefit as well. Humility and wisdom—at least, hopefully—have been gained by this point, along with a greater focus on quality work. Having come through my 20’s and 30’s, I see with a different perspective and know just how much I still need to learn. Also there is the experience of past successes as well as failures. Yes, maybe age does bring something along with the wrinkles.

For my family and myself, I will keep trying. I’ll keep throwing spaghetti up against a wall until it sticks, and then we’ll all reap the benefits of my continuing to try.

Pessimists and Optimists

“Don’t ever become a pessimist… a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.” –Robert A. Heinlein

New Little Friend

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Our New Little Friend

 

“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” –John Ruskin

A few days ago, I hooked Anakin’s leash onto his harness in preparation for an afternoon walk. As we proceeded past my car, however, Anakin refused to move. I peered under the car, and there two eyes looked back at me. In the sun’s glare, I could see the face of a gray cat but little else. Thinking that the cat was one of our neighborhood cuties, I convinced Anakin to continue on with our jaunt.

The next morning my husband gasped in shock when he opened the door. There on the porch was the same cat, but he was better able to see the cat’s condition. Obviously a stray, the cat was extremely thin with a ragged coat. He or she was also understandably wary of people. My husband shared his experience when he returned inside, and we quickly figured out that it was the same cat. There was a new stray in the neighborhood.

Not knowing what else to do, we put out food and water for the cat. We watched out the window as the cat tentatively approached the bowls, eventually consuming everything that we had provided. Due to the cat’s emaciated body, we provided seconds and thirds that day. Our sleep was troubled that night thinking about our new little friend.

The next morning, I opened the door in order to take Anakin out into the yard. There, sitting calmly on the sidewalk, was the cat. He or she faced the house, seemingly waiting for us to appear. I took care of Anakin’s needs and then provided the stray with more food and water. This pattern has continued since then, with regular appearances of the cat at a watchful, but ever wary, distance.

I suppose that our little acts of kindness towards this one stray cat may pale in comparison to some of the larger charitable acts that I have witnessed. However, it has made two depressed people feel a bit more useful in this world. And most of all, I know that we’ve made a difference in this one cat’s life.

For more information on caring for stray cats, see this page from Alley Cat Allies.