Gifts

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

I saw the results of a new survey that found that kids will watch a favorite movie on average 244 times. It certainly feels like we are well on our way to that number of viewings of Encanto, one of the more recent releases from Disney.

Which isn’t an entirely bad thing. In addition to some great songs written by Lin Manuel Miranda, it’s a really compelling story about a family of gifted individuals. It’s centered around the story told by the grandmother that they were granted a miracle which has manifested through a candle that always burns, a magical house where they all live and gifts that they are bestowed at a certain age.

One makes food that heals other people, another controls the weather, one sister is incredibly strong while the other sister is beautiful and graceful. But the character at the center of the movie didn’t get a gift when it was her turn.

My 6-year-old daughter and I have had great conversations about the premise of the movie. About what it would feel like to be the one person in a family of talented people who didn’t get her gift. And also does everyone in this world get a gift? Finally, a lot of discussion of that fact that most gifts are given over time, not at a ceremony at age 7, 8 or 9 but through a lot of hard work and practice.

But it certainly has made me think of my own gifts – whether I can recognize them or even value them. I grew up with a natural talent for mathematics. I never thought you had to take notes in a math class because it always just made sense to me and that carried all the way through all the upper level math I took in college.

However I’m not all that crazy about that gift now. 😊 What’s the practical application of that? In fact, it wasn’t until Swinged Cat admitted that he sees in rhyme that I remembered my gift. Sure it was the foundation of my computer consulting career that now supports my family but it isn’t all that warm and sexy.

But I have some traits that I’ve worked hard to develop. I’m a good and empathetic listener. Hiking, mountain climbing and parenting have helped me build a lot of endurance. Meditation has given me the gift of patience and calm. Do any of those things I cultivated count?

Here’s where I came down on this when talking to my daughter:

Some gifts are natural and others you will have to work harder for.

We will only see the gifts we’ve been given if we have the confidence to look and the commitment to grow them.

Whatever they are, when we use those gifts on behalf of other people it makes them matter the most.

When we can combine our gifts with the direction of the Divine, it magnifies their usefulness many times over.

My mathematical brain tells me we have about 111 more times watching Encanto to go. There are many more thought-provoking themes like being authentic, family pressure and being more than your gift so for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’d say it’s worth watching at least once.

How about you? What are your gifts?

(featured photo from Pexels)