Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Being gifted

Are some people gifted and others aren’t?  (Of course not!  I think that to be human is to be gifted, only in different areas, different ways, different degrees.)

What does it mean to be 'gifted'?  (An age-old mystery, but what is it really?)

When one plays a musical piece and people say the artist is really gifted, what do they mean?  Should one take it as a compliment?  How should he respond?

This is a topic that is loaded with potential problems, isn’t it?  Any answers I might give to these questions may be, correctly or incorrectly, interpreted as arrogant or trite.

I’ll not discuss the questions here in detail (ha!).  Instead, I’ll make a few comments from my own perspective as a career creative artist and a thinker.

  • If you’re gifted, something is given to you by someone else; it doesn’t originate with you.  As Paul said, 'What do you have that you did not receive?'

  • If you’re gifted, you have to choose to accept the gift.  You may well make the decision not to accept it, for one reason or another. (Bad idea!)

  • If you’re gifted, you are given something to work hard on; the ‘10,000 hours to excellence’ principle applies to this in a very real way.  As Thomas Edison said, ‘Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.’

  • If you’re 'gifted' in a particular thing, products don't actually just flow out in an easy, natural, perfect way --- you are never fully satisfied with your work.  The ideals still remain well beyond their outworking at any specific time, so you are always in a tension between dreams and fulfilment.

  • Lastly, and especially importantly, as I heard a speaker on the radio say when I was about 19 years old, If you are given a gift, that makes you the delivery boy.’

This last one has stuck with me all these years, and it has fanned a constant ‘fire in my bones’ to fulfill the desire to share with others what has been entrusted to me, for their blessing and betterment.  Have you experienced that fire too?

Who is the audience for my music?  How can I bring the music to them in a way that goes and finds them and really counts in their lives?  How can the yearnings and structures and joys and aspirations in the music in my heart and mind be effectively poured out in concerts, recordings, videos online, blog posts, teaching? When should I focus on finding those ultimate recipients of what has been given to me, and when should I simply ‘cast my bread upon the waters’ for whoever is somewhere out there in a position to receive?

How about your situation? How can (or do) you apply these concepts to what you have been given?

And how do you, in an authentic way, honor and thank the original Giver?

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