There are people out there, people who I do not yet know. Amazing people. Wonderful people. People so beyond my ability to imagine them, that the fact that they are there will prove to be a surprise and a delight in and of itself.
It keeps happening. I keep finding myself surprised by something, delighted by something, changed even. Most of the time, that something comes in the form of being someone.
How is it that little things can sometimes change us the most? For me, the changes are not usually the result of some great event, either tragic, or spectacular, but little things. Small notes of encouragement, little paintings, just watching people do what it is they love to do, little things.
When I consider how I started learning the French language. I was inspired by a YouTube video that told a fantasy story using Spanish, which inspired me to finally take the time and effort to begin studying the French language, which is something I’ve desired to do for years. A little thing, but the effects of it might change the entire course of my life. I might find myself places I never, ever, imagined myself as a result of that one little thing that set the things that followed in motion. Among them was the discovery of Mandarin Chinese as another language to learn, which has proven to be a far more fascinating and beautiful treasure then I expected it to be. Languages and cultures go hand in hand, and I find a love for the people to whom these languages belong to, has arisen in my heart. I wish I could learn every language and culture, and love every person. I might now be able to learn all those languages in my lifetime, but love transcends all these things. It doesn’t mean I can’t love the people of the world.
That is but one example of a little thing altering the greater. In many ways, this is the story of our lives. Little things, precious things, that is where the real story is told. We’re not like a product package with a few of the benefits listed on the label, but a complex and wonderful creature, a human being, with a heart and a soul.
Of course many times there are events that change our lives unexpectedly, sometimes these are tragic, sometimes they are not, but they do occur, major, and sudden change does occur.
But more often, it is the little things. Most of my friends did not suddenly just drop into my world out of nowhere, becoming my friend at once, not that that can’t happen, but generally speaking, there is a period of developing, a process, or if you will several little things that comprise the bigger thing. A laugh shared here, a little compliment, a handshake, a little lunch, the sharing of little joys, delights, and our sorrows. The sharing of tears, and the unveiling of our hearts. These are the things that form our friendships, not unexpectedly, though it may seem that way, or suddenly, but it is usually formed as a outworking of many little things changing to form a friendship between two people. Sometimes it takes but a few hours for the friendship to go from a little seed planted to a beautiful flower. Sometimes it is a process that takes years. Either way, these little things are the precious moments, the little moments, these are the treasures of our hearts.
The little things. A smile, a laugh, the things we want to remember forever. Those are the things that change us, and those are the things that change the world.
I confess, I am often so enthralled on how the little things change me, how they change my life, that I forget that sometimes I’m doing the same for others, little things that I do, are changing those around me too. It’s what we do. We need each other, we change each other. That’s how it works. That’s why we need our relationships. It’s why we need to share our talents with each other. It is the gift of ourselves.
We are never happier then when we lose ourselves and turn our focus outward, seeking to benefit our brothers and our sisters. We are never more miserable then when we are inward focused, excluding those around us.
That said, I really need to understand that my gifts are not given to me to horde towards myself, but to share freely with the world around me, for the transformation of those around me, and even myself.
It’s why I need to speak more openly, and not be afraid. It would be wrong for me to deny the giving of the little things that I have to those around me. My gifts, my talents, while I might find great happiness, delight, and personal fulfillment in using them, are something for the benefit of others, and when I use them for that purpose, to help others, then I will find all that I, myself, desire as well. I am convinced that it is in the nature of being focused upon others that we cannot help but find ourselves filled with the very things we most desire, but when we seek them for the sake of ourselves, they always seem just out of reach.
The YouTube channel Blimey Cow has a saying that is perfect for that: “You’re doing it wrong!” (It is a fun channel by the way. Worth watching.)
I’m beginning to understand, it’s okay to just be myself, to let myself use my gifts and talents, and that in sharing them, I help others. How? Just by being myself. I keep finding myself absolutely astounded and delighted by people who are just being themselves, and are just using their talents and gifts. Just doing what it is that they do. It’s okay to be yourself. You are you! And, when you are being you, in most cases, you become a gift to those around you. You’re not just some mindless zombie that corporations like to call a consumer. Sadly, that is about what we come when we turn our focus inward. When life becomes about what we can get out of it, rather then what we can give, we do become rather like zombies.
An example from my greatest failing: One of the gifts I’ve been given is a beautiful singing voice, and a beautiful voice in general. But, the one thing I am more terrified of then anything is speaking. God has given me a gift. What a waste it would be to let fear rob both me, and the world around me, of it.
This is a tragedy. That I have been given something beautiful, but do not share it. This is wrong.
Everyone has something beautiful to give. Let’s be ourselves. Does it really matter what other people think? Is image worth the price of robbing humanity of the beautiful gifts bestowed upon us? We are beautiful gifts, precious people, we are gifts to the world around us. Will we let pride and selfishness rob ourselves, and those around us, of the blessings we have to give? Is it worth it? Or is the self-centered human the greatest tragedy ever to be seen in this world?
Let us be the gifts we are meant to be. Go out, be beautiful, be wonderful, be brilliant. Be yourself. That is what we are after all.