Oil

Having lived over half of my expected life span, I find myself spending more time wondering about the purpose of my life. Have I discovered it?  Have I fulfilled it?  So many of my dreams and aspirations were never brought to fruition, partly due to the choices I made, partly due to circumstances beyond my control. 

I did not become the famous ballerina I aspired to be.  I had the necessary grace and talent, studied the art with private lessons from the age of five through twelve, but when I gained my full height my teacher informed me five foot five was too tall to be a ballerina.

My parents offered private art lessons as an alternative. It was love at first brush stroke.  I had talent and potential. I studied, practiced and actually dabbled with a few pieces of commissioned work, but the dream of an art career never materialized.

Before I could explore that option, osteoarthritis developed in the lower thumb joints on both of my hands from overuse. My job as an Optician had destroyed my hands.  I could no longer hold a paint brush, or much of anything else for that matter. Doctors told me I was too young for joint replacement and would have to live with the pain and disability until I was older. Thirteen years passed before I became a candidate for joint replacement.

Through this experience, and other life altering events, I began sharing stories of faith, miracles and God's compassion. Friends and family encouraged me to write them down. I could type without pain, and I poured myself into this new craft. However, God put the brakes on the dream of a New York Times best seller. (Described on  my page Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My! (Why I Write). )

A few years ago a brilliant surgeon replaced my damaged thumb joints and after a year of therapy and recovery, I could once again hold a paint brush. Not on a full time basis as required to go pro, but at least I long enough to pursue the passion as a hobby. Although it has been fourteen years since I painted, and I may be a little rusty at first, I have confidence it will all come back and I can once again adorn our home, and others, with original art.

Yet, my original question remained. Why would God give me talent without the means to perfect it and use it successfully in a career?

The answer: oil.  In Streams in the Desert, L.B. Coleman tells a story about an eccentric old man who carried an oil can with him wherever he went. He lubricated every squeaky gate and door he encountered. When asked why he did this, he replied, "To make the way easier for those who come after me."

The cloud lifted. My talents weren't meant to make me famous, or rich. That wasn't how God marked success, and neither should I. They were meant to be used as oil to enrich and smooth the lives of others. My talents were meant to be shared, not sold.

My devotions this week included Isaiah 61:3: To appoint the mourners of Sion, and to give them a crown for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of grief: and they shall be called in it the mighty ones of justice, the planting of the Lord to glorify Him. 

Oil of joy for those that mourn. I can't think of a better use of my talents.

Comments

  1. Amen! What a blessing to realize that art and literature connect us and help us encourage others. Thank you for this enlightening post!

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  2. Thank you, Judith. Our world would be dismal without the arts: literature, fine art, music. We are blessed to have so many who share their beautiful talents, such as you and your husband.

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  3. What a beautiful life lesson, Cecilia. Your writing, lovely fine art, are so beautiful, I only wish you could tutor me as I wish to create more realistically, I have not ever captured realism like you do. But you are an inspiration for sure, Cecilia. And your message is so selfless and wonderful. A very nice post, indeed!

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  4. In some ways my life so mirrors yours Cecilia. So often in the midst of frustration I have asked God the question-Why? Why did He bless me with abilities and talents,which appear to achieve nothing?
    But, as you rightly say, what He has given us is to share, not necessarily sell.
    One day all our question will be answered, and I pray we will see the fruit of our work.
    I don't want to be like the man who was given one talent and buried it. I want to use all that I am and have for Gods Glory.
    Thankyou for this wonderful encouraging post.
    You are a brilliant artist and a beautiful lady.

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  5. Thank you too, Lorna. I am excited about finally having the opportunity to paint again.

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  6. I appreciate your kind words, John. As far as realism, it only takes observation coupled with trial and error. I did however have a wonderful foundation laid by a wonderful teacher. I griped and complained during the years of color clinic and basic stuff, but it has paid off. I am happy to share what knowledge I have, John. A lot can be shared through our internet connection. Blessings to you and your creative endeavors. You already have a wonderful gift of art in your drawings. Those are beautiful renderings.

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  7. Vonnie, I agree it is sometimes frustrating to be so close to our dreams only to see them shattered. You are also right, someday we will know the reason behind it all and I have a hunch it will be more amazing than we can visualize. Blessings to you with your own amazing talents!

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  8. Super post Cecilia! I love "Streams in the Desert" and remember the devotional on the oil can. I too sometimes wonder if I had been obedient early on - what God could have done with me - but I'm happy to start from NOW and continue to minister using my God given gifts. Thank God He never gives up on us...
    We are indeed the oil that brings light into the world!

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  9. Yes, Deborah, God never gives up, and I certainly count on that. And to use an old cliche, better late than never!

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  10. Oh, Ceci, this is a wonderful post! I have read the oil can story over and over for years. I love that one. And the Isaiah passage you quoted is one of my favorite scriptures. Your talent/s explode in expression, no matter what form they take. Always exploding to the glory of God. Bless you1

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  11. Well, thank you for your kind words, Lynn. I couldn't help but share what God placed in my heart. Sure takes a load off the shoulders. No need to be perfect or find financial embellishments to feel fulfilled and successful. He gave me a tremendous gift.

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  12. nice post...thanks for sharing...happy holidays..blessings...soraya

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  13. Thank you for stopping and commenting, Soraya. May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year as well!

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