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Talents, Gifts, and Faith

By Gary F. Zeolla


Note: The author, who wishes to remain anonymous, suffers from fibromyalgia. But this article is applicable to anyone struggling with a disabling health condition.

All of my life, I thought of myself as the guy with the ten talents. After all, didn't everyone tell me I was blessed with many talents? Even in school, I was placed in the program for the Talented and Gifted. With all my gifts and all my talents, my opportunities seemed boundless, my choices unlimited, my whole life a glittering road before me. I would use those talents wisely and well, and in the end I would say, "Lord, here are the talents you gave me--and look! I made ten talents more! Aren't they pretty?"

So I tried building something beautiful on all the best foundations the world had to offer--and all the best foundations crumbled. My health and boundless energy? Gone. My artistic ability? Stunted. The brain that served me so well? Requires medication to do even a fraction of what used to come so easily. Money? What money? Family? Well, it's not easy getting along with those who have convinced themselves you have chosen to hide your treasure in a napkin and bury it underground when all the best people are using their treasure to make payments on their luxury cars. Friends? Oh, my friends are wonderful--but so far away, and the cares of this life are so near.

Finally, after all my years of laboring, it hits me that I may not be the guy with the ten talents after all. Maybe I am the widow with two small coins and the only choice I have is whether or not to give two small coins back to God.

I do not like this thought. It does not fit my self-image. It does not do wonders for my self-esteem. I do not like it at all.

I can't be the widow with the two little lepta. Things must get better soon. I will be talented and admirable again. After all, it wouldn't be fair of God to give me so much when I was young only to take it all away forever. (Surely a widow thought the same when she learned that her husband had died.) I remember so well all the possibilities, all the things I could do and would continue to do if only I had the chance. (A woman wakes in the night remembering how it felt to be enfolded in her husband's arms, and for a moment she can almost believe that his absence was just a dream.) I'm sure I can see something shining in the corner, something I lost but might find again. If I can find my treasure, I'll hold a party and invite all the neighbors. It simply must be more than two small coins.

Maybe it would help if I knew what happened to the widow after she left the temple. What was her next meal like? Did she benefit from the charity of strangers? Did she eat like a dog of the scraps that fell from the children's table? Where did she sleep? Did she have a hole like a fox or a nest like a bird? Did she have anywhere at all to lay her head? Could she toil? Did she spin? Was she clothed like the lilies of the field?

Does it matter? We are not called to figure out our roles in the grand scheme of things. We are called to love God and to serve Him. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it--even if all the world around you tells you that your efforts are worthless and that you are worthless if you don't do something else.

I still want to be the guy with the ten talents.

Disclaimer: The material presented in this article is intended for educational purposes only. The author is not offering medical or legal advice. Accuracy of information is attempted but not guaranteed. Before undertaking any treatment program, one should consult your doctor. The author is in no way responsible or liable for any bodily harm, physical, mental, or emotional, that results from following any of the advice in this article.

The above article was posted on this Web site December 26, 2001.

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