One day when I was about 13 my little brother walked into my room and with a voice of utter defeat said to me: how come you and I are the only ones in this family without any talent?
At that point in my life it had never occurred to me that I had NO talent. In a family of then 5 kids later to be 7, I knew that there were others with more talent then me. Labels seem to be unavoidable as much as parents try not to give into them and so I knew my sister was "the artist" like my mom, my oldest brother was "the smart one" my middle brother was "creative" like my dad who could make or fix anything and then there was my youngest brother who "made everyone laugh." But up to that point I had never considered the fact that I didn't really have a label, which I guessed meant that I had "no talent." Very soon however, I came to realize it was true. Although I could draw some, I wasn't as good as my sister and I certainly wasn't smart. I was quiet and tried very hard to please people, so I sure wasn't funny. That's when I realized that all I had going for me was that some people thought I was cute. So I became the "cute one" and I worked very hard at that, but at the same time had absolutely no confidence in the label because I knew I was very skinny, had thin hair and worst of all freckles, and even if I was somewhat attractive, it was a superficial identity that in reality meant very little.
Now I am a middle aged woman with a bit of talent in a lot of things but no real recognizable talent to speak of. And I'm not even cute any more.
I have come to appreciate what the Lord has given me and have used these talents all my life as the gifts they were meant to be. I've also come to realize that not all gifts are so easily recognizable. Through the years I've discovered other talents in myself such as a gift for teaching, a deep love for little children, and faith in my Savior and my Father in Heaven. These gifts I would not trade even to be able to paint like Carl Bloch!
The scriptures tell us that all god's children are given a gift:
For all have not every gift given unto them;
for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
They also tell us that these gifts are given to help and lift one another :
To some is given one; and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
I wish I had understood these principles those many years ago when my little brother confronted me with what he felt was a grim truth. We both had talents; gifts that had yet to be identified and developed. I wish I had known then that my Father in Heaven had many wonderful things in store for the both of us and that we would use and enjoy these gifts all our lives.
My little brother just finished writing his second book!