I walked into a room for a class I wasn’t sure I wanted to take, and headed straight for the table at the back. She did too, and we introduced ourselves. We both promptly declared we weren’t writers. Now, she is part of Crosshair Press which put out several titles last year, and I, too, have had to say, perhaps, I am a writer after all. Amy Davis and I have become the best of friends. In a world where “staying in touch” is too often equated with “I liked your post,” Amy makes a point of sending a note that says, “Hey, friend, let’s have coffee.” We might live 750 km apart, but our Skype dates are almost the same as being together. Her beautiful daughter even lets me sing to her. The only thing missing is a hug.
I received a message from a friend this week.
“Do you have time to chat with H and me? What about today?”
So I grabbed my laptop, turned on the webcam, and soon the Jersey Shore connected with the Rocky Mountains, and we then connected with Hawaiian Paradise. Two friends I’d known for years, miles apart, suddenly we were back in time, spread out on the living room floor, giggling, and enabling each other’s tangents.
But seriously… The Rocky Mountains stopped and pulled us back to center, as she always has. She explained she’d been thinking a lot about gifts and how everyone has them and there was this class assignment she’d been working on where she had to outline her own talents and describe why they were important… And that just led to her thinking about those who had shaped her own life. Hawaii. Jersey. Beyond.
“I wanted to let you know what I believe, what I know, your talents are. I don’t think we really like to emphasize being good at something. We’re afraid we won’t be seen as humble, so we downplay our skills, which isn’t the same at all.”
She looked straight at the camera, like we were back at a coffee shop in the city, chatting over lattes.
“Jersey. You have a gift for seeing the big picture and helping people see where they fit into it. You help give others purpose and I know that’s one way you’re meant to use your writing. You’re skilled and you’re meant to write. To connect people. I have seen your gifts in action, and I needed to remind you. Because sometimes we can’t see ourselves clearly.”
These weren’t her exact words. I know, because for some reason it’s harder to hear when tears are in my eyes.
I could not speak. I could barely breathe.
I hated that, after not seeing my friends for months, I’d been instantly reduced to a haze of saline and snot alllllll over my face. I missed my friends dreadfully. I did. But I had not realized how much I’d missed myself.
In those short sentences, she had sliced through years of struggling with who I was, and darker feelings of selfishness and resentment. I had missed being me. In the act of moving, growing, and doing all those responsible things you’re supposed to, I’d left behind parts of me I’d deemed “impractical.” Like taking time to look beyond the obvious. Searching for poetic words in the everyday. I went from knowing I could change the world to knowing I’d be changing locations and diapers instead. But I’d missed that the reality of those last two things did not negate the veracity of the first.
We all have people who speak the truth into our lives. I hope and pray that you have someone in yours who isn’t afraid to tell you where you need to improve, but also where you are already amazingly gifted. Because you are gifted, maybe creatively, or analytically, or athletically. No matter your reality, there is a need in our world for it. It sounds like just one more thing to check off your list, but realizing your gift will provide you with the freedom to be who you are meant to be.
Amy Davis is a writer, mother, lover of hot drinks and nerdy things. She is one of the founding members and the acquisitions manager of Crosshair Press—an indie publisher—and blogs on that site monthly. She occasionally tweets on Twitter and posts regularly at her personal site, Writing and Rhythm about faith, writing, music, and her love of the non-Oxford comma. She’s currently working on a Steampunk/Alternate History novel, due out in 2016.