Sitting in a room full of adults one day, I heard something like this, "How many of you in here are great artists?" Everyone looked around awkwardly. No hands were raised. "How many of you are singers?" A tentative hand or two. Again, sheepish looks.
"Look what happens to us as adults," the teacher said. "We forget our gifts; we become embarrassed."
He continued, "If I were in a class of 25 1st graders and I asked if any of them were artists, I guarantee you, most of the hands would have shot up at once; then the remaining kids would have looked around, and bolstered by their classmates' confidence, sent their hands up, as well. If I asked if they were singers, the same thing. Those 6-yr-olds would be bouncing in their seats, hands waving, starting to yell out their favorite tunes and breaking into song.
Somewhere along the line, as we get older, we become afraid and stop believing in our gifts."
I thought of that last night when I read a note from a woman fighting, and appearing to overcome, a cancer that many people don't overcome. She is feeling survivor guilt, wondering why she "deserves" to be healed when so many people "better" than her, who have lived more virtuous lives or made fewer mistakes, don't recover. When precious children afflicted with the same disease aren't making it, but somehow, she is. She said it kind of feels like we all felt after 9/11, wondering why our fellow Americans back East bore the brunt of the horrors, while we suffered and ached, but far removed from the grit and the smoke.
On a lesser scale, how many of us sometimes wonder how we can possibly deserve the blessings we've received or the gifts we've been given, when there are so many "more deserving" who seem to have so little? How many of us think we have a gift, even once used that gift with joy and confidence, but have become afraid or disbelieve we really do have a talent? And who would care anyway if we just set it aside?
This cancer survivor referenced the following quote by Robert Louis Stevenson, and I just wonder if there are a few among us who might find something in it that rings true.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Shine away, friends. You're beautiful.
Love from the farm,