“Hi. I'm John.” A slender man with a navy-blue hat introduced himself and smiled as he joined our table. “Hi John,” I replied. “I'm Gabby, and this is Michael. We're coloring pictures. Would you like some paper and crayons?” John said he would, and we fell into silence for a few moments.
There was a kind of understanding between us; that of three weary souls who had finished a long day's work. To be sure, there are some enthusiastic folks at Noble of Indiana. But during this particular visit, I was drawn to Michael, who sat apart quietly, and was okay with moments of silence in our conversation.
As we focused on our pictures, a house began taking shape on mine, with a small tree beside it. I looked over at Michael's paper and saw that he had drawn a house, as well. I commented on his drawing; he commented on mine, and John showed us the airplane he drew, featuring himself as the pilot. Then we got busy with a second drawing.
This time, I opted for a pair of hearts, using pink, red, and orange crayons. I worked diligently shading the background and outlining the figures... Then I stopped. Looking up from my drawing, I realized that John was watching me. Before I could ask him why he was staring, John inquired, “Do you study art in college?” I blushed. He wasn't kidding. Looking down at my 4th-grade-level masterpiece, I replied, “No.” “Oh,” was the simple reply. “You're very good.”
John went back to work on his picture, and I thought about what he had just said. Heaven knows I'm no Picasso! But my crayon hearts aren't too shabby. I always thought that being an artist meant showing uniqueness in an outstanding way. But the point of this story is not that I will now switch my major, or host an upcoming exhibit in the Fisher Hall Art Gallery. On the contrary, what I learned from coloring with John and Michael is that each of us has little gifts that can make a big difference in the lives of others.
What are your gifts? What are the little talents you have that others are not so fortunate to have? How are you called to be a responsible steward of your gifts, and share them with others?
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta