Every three years, my wife’s extended family gather in central Nebraska for a family reunion. It starts on a Friday night and ends Sunday after breakfast.
Saturday night is the talent show.
Singing, piano songs, tap dance, guitar. One of the uncles brought some pottery pieces last time and talked about that. It’s open to everyone. You just never know what to expect.
We’re about a month out from the next reunion…
I was sitting in the lounge area three years ago, waiting for my wife at the end of the weekend. One of her cousins with two little ones sat down on the couch opposite me. The older girl had performed in the talent show the night before. Her name was Mary.
I told her she’d done an awesome job in the talent show the night before.
Takes a lot of guts to stand up in front of seventy people, you barely know and sing a solo.
Mary singing in the talent show.
“Thanks.” she said. “What’s your talent?”
Took me totally off guard.
She looked at me with the most intense, matter of fact expression.
“Did you perform in the talent show?”
I mumbled something lame about being good in the audience.
Her question caught me off guard. I remember mumbling something about promising to do something next time.
I have thought about Mary and her questions for three years.
What’s your talent?
And why not?
The talent show is not about being better than the next person, or winning a prize. It is about sharing a piece of my life for the encouragement and enjoyment of the rest.
I am not a great singer. I dabble in music. Yes I was in choir, until the teacher asked me to be apart of a guy/ girl singing group where I would have to dance and sing. I didn’t think so. Yes I had 5 years of piano lessons and 2 years of organ lessons. Yes I played the trumpet in jazz band. Yes I know some basic chords on the acoustic guitar and can read music. But sharing any of that in a family talent show? None of that really lights a fire in me now. So for the past three years I have been wracking my brain about what talent or story or hobby to bring with me to the next talent show, because I gave my word to Mary you know.
Yesterday morning it clicked.
I know what I am going to do. 🙂
What about you? What would you say to Mary? What part of your life could you share with the rest of us and sitting on the sidelines was not an option? Because, here’s the deal. I believe, in the big scheme of things, each and everyone of us is a walking, talking repository of life stories, life skills, life lessons, meant not just for ourselves to hoard, and keep stashed away, but to share as well.
Where does the fire burn? Do you love to garden? What are some of the favorite things you grow and why? What are some gardening tricks you’ve learned over the years? Art, do you love to paint, draw, work with your hands? Give me details! Have you been given abilities to fix things with your hands? Tell me a story about something that had you stumped, then figured out how to fix. Are you good with children, older people, the sick? Tell me a funny story about that. Do you love the outdoors? Why? What is it about the outdoors that brings you joy? Do you live in a big city? Tell me a story about life in the big city that will make me laugh…or surprise me because of the kindness of a stranger.
You’re up next. 🙂 DM
Here’s a link to a blog post about this same encounter written three years ago, right after it happened. To be totally honest, I’d forgotten I’d written it. It showed up on my screen this morning after I posted the new one. Maybe my clutch is starting to slip.