Five Talents for Daily Living

When we hear the word talents, we often think of the ability to do extraordinary things: play the piano or violin with great skill, hit a 405 ft. home run, write prize-winning poetry, win five Academy Awards, lead a major business or organization successfully, perform complex brain surgery.

But there are other talents I admire that may not be as obvious or as showy, but are, in the long run, more important for daily living. In fact, these talents often make extraordinary talents possible. Here are five of those talents.

Patience. Patient people are good at waiting. They do not need to see immediate results of their labors. Closely aligned to patience are these satellite talents: self-discipline, calmness, tolerance, perseverance. People who need the most patience (in my humble opinion) are parents, teachers, farmers, and anyone who is ill.

Pleasantness. Pleasant people are just plain nice, that is, they are enjoyable to be with. Satellite talents include friendliness, approachability, kindness and consideration for others. Being pleasant consistently demands energy and self-forgetfulness. There are times, of course, when we should be upset and even angry–especially in the face of injustice. But consistently pleasant people are an asset to any family, workplace, and community. They incarnate the Golden Rule.

Being a life-long learner. Learners know they don’t know it all. That’s why they are always seeking new information, insights, and answers. (The fact that you read this blog is a good sign that you have this talent!) Learners are not set in their ways, for new knowledge often results in change–change in attitude as well as behavior. And change, for most of us, is not easy. Satellite talents include humility, curiosity, the ability to listen well, and daring.

Belief in a loving and challenging God. Faith in a Divine Power who is both loving and challenging is a vital component of a healthy spirituality. We need faith in a God who is absolutely loving–regardless of the unloving things we may do. At the same time we need faith in a God who challenges us, who constantly calls us to greater love and compassion for others. Satellite talents would be prayerfulness, hopefulness, and trust.

Humor. In a crowded room, I naturally tend to gravitate toward individuals with a good sense of humor–especially if that humor is coupled with love for others and for life itself. My best friends all make me laugh. In fact, I think we hone each other’s sense of humor. Satellite talents are broad-mindedness, playfulness, and joy.

For reflection:

Look over the five talents. Which ones do you already have–at least to a significant extent?

Which one(s) might you be called to develop more?

Did Jesus have these five talents?

Which other talents would you add to this list? Why?

Do you know anyone who possesses these talents to a great extent? Who?

PS: Thank you for your prayers for my annual retreat. I got back Sunday evening after spending a week in Florida on the Gulf. It was a beautiful and rich experience. As I promised, I remembered all of you in my prayer. In a future blog, I’ll share a few thoughts on the retreat.

I’m offering two videos today. The first is a song; the second a 4 minute movie. The song is entitled “We All Have Gifts to Share,” written by Susan Kay Wyatts. This song is often sung by school choirs.

The second video is called “With a Piece of Chalk.” This video really touched my heart. At first it might seem like a movie about bullying. But I think it goes deeper than that. I’d be interested in what you felt/thought about it.

Please respond to this reflection and/or the videos below. We would love to hear from you!

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  1. John E Hopkins on January 13, 2020 at 5:16 am

    Good morning, Sr. Melannie…..
    Good morning, all….

    All of the talents offered above are a cause for pause and meditation (as is your blog in general). So thank you!

    As a life-long teacher, I would say I’m a life-long learner. Throughout my career, I’ve learned from my colleagues, my students, and even an administrator or two, not to mention parents, custodial workers, and the kitchen staff. For thirty-eight years as a teacher, I have learned so much more than what I profess to teach. In fact, where I teach now, we are called a “learning community,” and that includes everyone. It’s a beautiful thing!

    Yes, I believe God is loving, but I must admit I fear the “challenging” part. That’s something I have to work on. Perhaps I’m becoming too complacent in my relationship with God, not a good way to be when you claim to follow someone who had “no place to lay his head.”

    Finally, that little four minute film was beautiful! That little boy’s talent was so much more impressive than all the CGI Hollywood can buy!

  2. Ed Johnson on January 13, 2020 at 6:35 am

    My goodness, the short film is amazing… about a picture/film worthy of a thousand words! JESUS built relationships using the talents you enumerated, and many more. We are called to do the same, are we not? To foster relationships with others, using our talents, to spread the kingdom of God. As for me, patience is a talent I strive to improve…..too often I fall short on that one. Glad you enjoyed our fair Florida weather during your retreat. Thank you for your thoughts and words, and your amazing talent to convey them to us! Peace and Blessings.
    Ed J.

  3. Tina on January 13, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Good Morning Sr Melannie,
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Love this. So beautiful and such a touching message to us all. We ALL have different and amazing gifts to share!

  4. Pete on January 13, 2020 at 8:22 am

    OMG! That young boy has some moves! The lady in charge of our soup kitchen has the gifts. She is amazing. It makes working for her, as a volunteer, a pleasure. I am a life long learner, it keeps the mind fresh and open. Thanks!

  5. Rita Maglio on January 13, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Sr. Melanie, thank you for this meditation and music, but especially for the video! I found myself wanting the boy to breakout in dance on the playground and share his special talent, but he saved it to share with God who sees all! We often have secret talents that are ours alone that we share with our creator in prayer and our daily actions! Thank you for sharing your talent of opening our minds and hearts to hear Him! ❤️

  6. Kim on January 13, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Enjoyed all of your thoughts. Thank you for including the video. I like the way the ‘hopscotch’ is in the shape of a cross. Children are always trying to fit in or find their way. I can feel for the parents who seem to think their son is sad, maybe without friends. Every child needs at least one friend. Which always leads to the question, ‘How can the parents be most supportive of their child?’

  7. Shirley on January 13, 2020 at 8:50 am

    The song was great! The video was marvelous! That young man has some talent and as Ed said talk about a picture worthy of 1000 words.
    Thank you Sister for sharing! God Bless you and have a great week!

  8. Linda on January 13, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Joy of celebrating your talents! Thank you!

  9. Susan on January 13, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Yes, Sister and all! It might take a lifetime for us to realize our own and to look for talents in others, but, thanks to people like you, we are reminded.

    That young boy reminds us that everyone has a talent. Yes, he was bullied. Thankfully, he realized his own talent. Like Rita, I was anticipating him on the playground, showing others his talent, and them cheering him on and then trying to learn the dance. What a lesson for all young people. Thank you all for the reminder!

  10. Jean Canatsey on January 14, 2020 at 9:48 am

    Wow! Watching the boy walk away from the “cross” he had conquered made me think of the hymn “Only in God Will My Soul Find It’s Rest.” The. teacher then asking to be taught brought the message full circle.
    Sr. Melannie, thank you for reminding us of the ordinary talents of life and the way they sometimes intertwine with negative traits. For instance, I am naturally a pleasant person but when I am stressed I can be very impatient. I need to work on that.

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