“Duda, where’s Bapa?” Ella asked. (Duda is the name Ella calls me!)
“I think he’s napping again.” I replied.
“He sleeps a lot.”
“Yes, he’s tired.”
“Is he old?” She asked.
How do I answer that?
At 77 my father is certainly “older” than some. And I know plenty of people in their 70s who are fully alive, vibrant, enjoying life and continuing to contribute to the world in a big way.
But here he is, sleeping most of the time for the few short days that we’re visiting.
And she just wants to spend time with her “Bapa.”
How do I explain it to Ella?
How do I explain what it feels like to be filled with so much regret and disappointment and resentment that you sleep to avoid the pain?
How do I explain that when you ignore your dreams for too long they get buried so deep inside you that you can’t even remember what they were?
I decide that I can’t explain it… so I take another path.
“Well, Sweetie, do you know how you wake up each morning excited for the new day?”
“Yes! I wake up Happy and Ready to Go!”
“Yes, you sure do!” I say.
“Well, Bapa has forgotten that each day is a new adventure, filled with surprises and blessings. Somewhere along the way, he stopped being excited to explore all the fun stuff there is to discover and explore. And, he also forgot that he has a beautiful gift to share with the world. A gift that no one else has.”
“Like my gift of talking with the Fairy Realm?”
“Yes. Like that.” I agree. “And when you forget what your gift is, especially for a long time, it can make you tired.”
“Maybe when he wakes up, I can teach him Fairy Language.”
“I’m sure he would love to learn Fairy Language from you!”
This conversation happened on our last trip back east to visit family. It was sad for me… watching my father drag himself around, sleeping much of the time and seeing only glimmers of the lightness and playfulness he used to have.
It made me stop and consider the cost of ignoring your gifts.
It made me realize how grateful I am to have chosen, long ago, never to give up on my gifts… even though there have definitely been times of struggle… times when a big part of me wanted to give up… believed it would be easier and certainly less painful if I just gave in and gave up!
Seeing my father reminded me that the cost of denying and ignoring my gifts would have been a LOT greater!
So how are you nurturing and expressing YOUR gifts?
We each have a unique gift, unlike anyone else.
And we all express those gifts in unique ways.
Some express their unique gifts in a job. Others turn their unique gifts into a business. For some, creative endeavors are the outlet for expressing their unique gifts.
Still others express their gifts through volunteer work or in the consciousness and presence they bring to the seemingly insignificant moments of everyday life… as a parent, a partner, a little league coach, a colleague or a friend.
How you express your unique gift is actually not so important.
But it is VERY important that you DO express your unique gift.
That gift is like a seed inside of you. Your job is to nurture that seed and allow it to grow and blossom and bear fruit through your life.
As the tree of your gift grows through your nurturing presence and actions, the fruit feeds the world… But it also feeds and fuels you.
When you ignore or deny your gift, the beautiful tree that could have grown from that gift wilts, withers, and ultimately dies.
Now I haven’t given up on my dad. I continue to hold him in the Light and see him connected with his gift. And there’s a chance he’ll choose to remember his gift and start nurturing it.
But that’s his choice. I’ve let go of the sense of responsibility for him and his gift (although I carried that one around for a LONG time!) I understand that I need to give him the freedom to choose his own path.
But what about you?
What is your unique gift? Have you nurtured it lately? Have you watered it? Have you pulled out the weeds that grow so quickly in that fertile ground?
And how are you sharing it with the world? Note that singing in the shower doesn’t count!
Leave a comment below and share your gift and how you have been nurturing it.