I've been thinking about two quotes tonight. They're some I've loved and thought about many times since I first came across them in what amounts to a long time ago in my life.

The first is by Henry Van Dyke and the second by Joseph Joubert:
Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. 
A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.
I usually say them a little different when they go through my mind. The word "deserve" always feels funny to me. I don't let that word - that feeling - change the spirit of the quote for me. Maybe there isn't a perfect word to really say what I wish could take the place of "deserve" almost all the time.

Whenever I move, there's a little sheet of paper to fill out at church in Relief Society. One of the questions is always, "What are your talents?" I never know what to put. My standard answer is usually "I'm a jack of many trades and master of none."

Perhaps the greatest talents are those that no one can watch or listen to you do. They come as a result of your presence in the world. Tenderness. Kindness. Perceptiveness. Gentleness. They are felt. And it creates an undercurrent of love in all you do. Maybe these qualities inspire talents, but I know that standing alone, they are enough.

I've been trying to realign my priorities, and one of those is not wrapping my self-worth up whether or not I feel loved or accepted by certain people. That probably comes out in a different way than I mean. I've never been one who needs gobs of recognition for reassurance, but I suppose in all of my stay-at-home-ness, I've developed this need to feel like I'm important to someone outside of the someones in my home. I would feel more validated. When I step back for a minute and adjust my priorities, I realize there's no one in the world I could be more important to than my children. I am, after all, the center of their universe, and I won't always be. I once read a blog that talked about how every day makes up what will be your children's childhood. Childhoods should be magical. I don't want my girls' memories to be full of images of me starring at a screen [because it somehow connected me with the outside world] instead of remembering what I looked like when I was doing something with them, forming new traditions, making adventures out of ordinary days.

Having said that, I want to take a moment to address and permanently remember a message I received via facebook. Someone took the time to write me a very sweet note and was afraid it might come off as "creepy." It was anything but, and it made my day - and not because I was looking for recognition or validation (I had to check myself), but because of how much I appreciated the act of kindness. Because I want to be more like her in sharing qualities I love about people with them. While seeking recognition and validation shouldn't be the driving force behind our actions, receiving them so unexpectedly, so genuinely, strengthens the cloth of humanity. Kind acts are always around us, but they usually don't get the limelight. I will be working to cultivate the talent that is kindness, and I hope part of that will be sharing the love I have for those around me just because they're who they are.
Never hesitate to share a kind thought.


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