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.