Last night an amazing woman shrugged off her brilliance like it was a scratchy sweater. A few hours later, I turned a page in Dawna Markova's insightful book, I will not die an unlived life and read:
What are your inner gifts and talents? Most of us are reasonably articulate about our deficits and weaknesses--how many we got wrong on our spelling tests, how many things we have failed to accomplish during any given day. We become fluent at explaining our incompetencies, but look straight at our gifts and talents and then mutter, "Oh, that old thing?" This leaves us awkward and confused about how to bring our assets and resources to the rest of the community. Too many of us believe we don't matter, and that what we do doesn't really make a difference."
The truth of that stunned me. That is what we do. It may be a stereotype but it seems that women do it more often than men. We go back to school and get one more degree to prove that we have the right to say what we know to be true. We hide our brilliance because it might be perceived as "showing off." We call it "that old thing" because it hasn't earned the golden coin that validates it in the eyes of the world.
What treasures we leave moldering in a "maybe someday" chest, afraid to take them out and show them to the world. What will it take for us to realize that life is a giant jig saw puzzle that needs our piece to be complete ... the authentic, whole, brilliant self each of us is? Perhaps that's the only real purpose in life ... to live each of our gifts and share them back with the whole.
Otherwise, we may never know what the glorious picture is on the cover of the box we call life.