Essay: Giving Your Gifts

Apr 5, 2019

When people ask me how I became a writer, I tell them about Mrs. Goudzwaard, my tenth grade English teacher.  She gave me an A+ on a paper once and read it to the class.  I was embarrassed, of course, but also amazed.  I didn’t know I could write!


Mrs. Goudzwaard saw something in me that I had not yet seen—and because of her, I discovered one of my gifts.  We all have many gifts which aren’t only talents but also qualities.  A gift for listening, for example, or for caring.

And I have come to believe that it is our sacred responsibility to discover, cultivate and give our gifts.  It will take a lifetime to accomplish this—but that’s what a lifetime is for.  Many teachers and experiences have guided me on this long journey to claim my gifts, polish them, and find a way to share.

We also have a responsibility to help others discover their gifts. I told a friend recently, “You have great organizational skills.”  She looked surprised.  “I guess I do,” she said, and I asked her to help me put together an event.

“I need to learn from you,” I said.  So I listened while she talked—an exchange of gifts.