“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ” I used everything you gave me.”

Erma Bombeck

That quote has pulsed through my mind for two weeks now.  I read it in the book One Month to Live by Kerry and Chris Shook.  The words hit me so profoundly.  When my time comes, will I be able to say that I have used my talents, or have they been idling in the back of my mind untouched?  (This book is about way more than untouched talents and a very good read, by the way.)

I am blessed to attend a once a week gathering with a group of diverse women who aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions.  They talk about topics most casual acquaintances would never discuss.  Topics that make you ask yourself the hard questions.  What if I only had one month to live?  What if I’ve done nothing but squander time?

In our group, we have two wanna-be writers, a banker who runs marathons and has found a passion in teaching, a dental hygienist who realized her real passion isn’t cleaning teeth but engaging with her patients, a few retirees who have more spark and life than people half their ages, and mothers…lots of mothers.

We talk about our dreams, our fears, our struggles with raising actual people.  For some it’s very difficult to voice their dreams aloud.  And for one kind woman, she sheepishly admitted, “I must have missed the line for dreams.  I’ve never really had one.”  (But this woman has talents…talents she uses every day in the work force, talents she uses in the church and with people around her.  Maybe she’s just never thought of them as a passion…)

It’s no secret that I have two passions.  One passion is children, the other is writing.  The first passion is aging.  It has become a little tarnished with time, and definitely banged up over the years.  But even still, even as the powers that be are changing everything I once knew about teaching, I still love the children.  My other passion never stops whispering to me…even when I’m at work surrounded by twenty little bodies.

Writing was an urge given to me.  I did not earn it or bargain for it.  I did not expect it.  It showed up in my early thirties and since that time has devoured a large part of my soul.  Do I consider it a talent?  I don’t know.  But I know this…if and when the time comes for me to say that yes, I’ve used my talents, I want to be able to say it.  I’ve given 24 years of my life to teaching, and I want to be able to say that I gave writing my all as well.

So how do I do this?  Our group discusses this often.  How do we find the time to do it all?  I spend 40 hours a week at work then what feels like another 40 taking care of the house, food, etc.  What time does that leave for writing?  Sometimes, very little.

My challenge is to find the time to write more.  And that is my challenge to you.  What are your talents?  What are your dreams?  Is it finally being able to be a stay at home mom?  Is it a passion for cooking (and will you share just a smidgen of that with me)?  Is it a need to take care of others?  Whatever it is, I challenge you to embrace it as I do the same.  Maybe we can find our way there together.

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