At a recent church service, I heard the minister speak of gifts. Specifically, he was speaking of gifts given to us when we were children, but I realized that there are two types of gift we are given in our lifetime and this distinction is an important one for those of us involved at The Greensboro School of Creativity.

The first kind of gift is the kind we are given by others. Maybe it was a red wagon, a first alarm clock, or a pristine shiny bicycle. We all have memories of such gifts. I can remember countless gifts I pleaded for – a drum set, a set of bases, and my first car - and these gifts have one thing in common: I grew out of them. The drum set was put in the basement, the bases were left at someone else’s house, and my first car gave way to the second, third, and fourth. Regardless of the gift or my age, there are gifts that I grow out of. (Yes I know not to end a sentence with a preposition, but go with me for a minute.)

There’s a second kind of gift, however, and such gifts are not as obvious or shiny, but they are also given to us by someone else. I call that someone else “God,” and the gifts God gives are ones like compassion, generosity, understanding, and forgiveness (to name but a few). The difference between these and the first kind of gifts is that with these we grow into them. Maybe we don’t recognize or open these gifts right away, but as we grow older we discover the many gifts we have been given and hopefully grow into them in real and substantial ways. Instead of putting them in the basement, we take them out and use them more and more.

The distinction between growing out and growing into gifts is vitally important to me as I seek to grow into the person God created me to be. Less and less am I concerned with the first kind of gifts, and more and more am I focused on the second. It is in discovering and growing into them that I find my life as a spiritual and creative being to be enormously rich and exciting.

may the same be true for you.

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