I have been hiding my talent under a bushel.
"What?" you might say aloud, your brow furrowing in confusion. The strangeness of the idea of me hiding anything, especially if you think it while visualizing me telling some crazy-stupid story and laughing out loud at it all by myself just won't allow it. "Jay has nothing to worry you might think he has an odd sense of humor, but he is a hard worker, moderately sucessful, and the last person who could be considered a bushel-hiding-talent-monger" (I love long hypeny words, me using them would make my 6th grade teacher Mrs Furner proud). And so you'd find yourself speaking aloud again, even though you are all by your lonesome. "What do you mean?"
Well , let me first tell you that wrinkling your forehead like that is only going to encourage age lines to start forming on that lovely head of yours, so just stop it. Right now. That's better. Have a seat on my leather psychiatrists chair, take off your shoes, muss up your hair and relax. The doctor is in.
When I was a small boy, wedged sometime after climbing that ladder up to the roof and finding myself tethered to a tree in the front yard, and the seventh grade, I realized that something was amiss. I realized that some folks just didn't appreciate the various talents God gave us. Mine were anything that involved skinning my knees, scraping a few more contusions on odd places on myself while lcimbing in and around and through things, and scavenging the fridge and pantry for food after my two teenage brothers had been there (let me tell you sometime about getting inventive and making ketchup cheese and wheatbread pizzas in the oven).
Yup, some talents just never get appreciated. True, this tale isn't sad, for if you know me, you find that God has blessed me in ways that I never expected. I was an Eagle Scout (love you Mom!), I got pretty good grades in school, I didn't kill myself those half dozen times I dove off/blew up/wrecked, I married an amazing woman (who I feel must be under some complex bewitchment, I am truly astounded she chose me and I got to choose her), I have two-point-nine amazing kids, a well-paying job, and I get to do things. Most guys can't claim to do and be half the stuff I can.
Yet I still feel like I am a person who doesn't share his talents. Nope, not very oten, sometimes not at all. Particularly the ones that I hold the closest in my heart, the closest in my dreams. Mostly, it's because of the same lil ol Jay and the same ol lil feelings. Back then that I didn't have the cool acid washed/pegged Levis and a Gap shirt. I ddin't have the cool pump-up Reeboks, or Nikes. I had the hand me downs, the on-sales, the conscious efforts of a dad and mom who were worried about trying to provide a home and food for seven kids on a steelworkers wages. Add to that that dad wasn't too savvy with the pocketbook, you get the picture. Truth be told, I am not the best at keeping ahold of my money, but experience has been a patient teacher if there ever was one, and I have been learning these past 15 years.
Rewind to seventh grade and Nephi, UT. Back then, Nephi was a very backwater place--think Smallville with no Superman, Arcadia without Zeus. And we moved in and stirred the pot a bit if you will with going to school there for a semester, then being bungee'd out to homeschool. It was like being cast to the fringes. I became a member of the mildly-despised, non-school attending few. It was not fun. I knew all the kids who lived around me--what kid doesn't grow up in a childhood neighborhood of their own where they can walk the streets blindfolded, and point out their schoolmates houses purely by smell (try and do that as an adult for a laugh sometime). Torry lived in the house with the blue siding, down the street with the creek running past it, next door to one of the two city mail carriers. My best friend lived next door. His house also had blue siding. I should have known from the siding he'd be trouble (just kidding Louis, if you ever read this). My best friend was a really giving kid. He and I were nearly inseperable over the next couple of years till public school began for me again (highschool), and I'd proven myself to mom that I was ready to go back and get some good grades. Still, I don't think his mom thought I'd ammount to much, especially after I'd thrown a rock from my hand made leather sling straight at a bird, yet missed the bird and whacked her new beautiful blue siding (hey it was 1993, give the color choice a break, it matched the custom van they had--pastel blue siding, pastel pink van).
So, all the rambling aside, what is the point? Trauma. Silly trauma. Thankfully there were moments in my growing up that I've come to find defined me. That eagle scout award I got two weeks after I'd turned thirteen. The day I got my leterman jacket before anyone else in my enighborhood. Singing a solo at the regional finals when I forgot all the words, then got all fired up and when we performed again ten minutes later, our small-group won. The way that new friends seemed to come out of the woodwork when I decided to forget being worried. Moving back to Orem and working at Storehouse Markets. Dating, working hard, paying for my own bills, trying to get ahead by my own hard work.
So all this business of even caring about being ashamed and hiding my damned candle under a fruit basket is wrong. I am not the kind of person who does that. It only leads to short-sighted self pity. It leads to missed opportunities. And so, leaving you at the end of this long-winded rant, I conclude with a statement.
Life's too short to keep lighting the wick of that candle and hiding it under a fruit basket. Next time I feel mlike it, I am going to break out my brother's halogen construction lamps and light up the night. If the light is too bright, then ya'll can go sit in the basement. Because I'm here to stay.