Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Unused Gifts....Got Any?

Ever received a gift you loved....but then never used? I'm wondering if this is a phenomenon that happens to us all because I know it has happened to me more than once. It is Christmas time or your birthday, and someone you know presents you with a beautifully wrapped package. Upon opening it, you exclaim with wonder because somehow they have managed to get you exactly what you wanted. Why then is it that you somehow never got around to using it?

Maybe it was a blouse or other article of clothing that was too dressy for your regular life and you simply didn't get invited to spend any time in Oprah's life. Maybe it was something you always wanted to try like a class in pilates or weight training but you just never got around to it because you just couldn't find the time. Or maybe, like me you're just a big old procrastinator who simply put off using your treasure for much longer than you ever intended until you forgot you had even received it. Whatever the reason, I was thinking about the giver of the gift and how they would feel if they knew that you had not/ were not/ are not enjoying your perfect gift. I imagine there would be some sense of disappointment, and at least a little bit of the "why don't you just spit in my eye" sensation.

In my opinion, this situation is very analogous to how GOD must feel about unused potential.

I think most would agree that potential is a gift from GOD, so when we fail to live up to our potential or worse yet, don't even make the effort to reach our potential, in my opinion it is much like spitting in the eye of GOD.

I am a lover of potential, in myself and in others. I seek it out. I encourage its development and do whatever I can to nurture and nourish it when I encounter it. This is a good thing......except when it is not.

As a woman whose deepest desire since forever has been to be one-half of a great relationship [and maybe even a great marriage one day], my affinity for looking for potential in others has not necessarily worked in my favor. Potential can be a tricky thing especially in the arena of relationships, because what it is in a sense, is the promise of things yet to come. It is today's fantasy of what tomorrow's reality MIGHT be.

Black women who are single and successful in their chosen fields and over the age of 40 often get a bad reputation for being unwilling to "give a brotha a chance". We are often accused of "chasing the white collars" or worse yet, "chasing the white boys". I can only speak for myself when I say that this assessment is completely off the mark when it comes to most of the black women I know [including myself].

When I meet a brother and take my "inventory" of what he has to offer compared to what is on my "list" of what I'd like in a mate, I often make allowances based on a brother's potential for things that might currently be "missing". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not talking "earning potential" here as the only monetary requirement I have is that the brother be handling his as I am handling mine, then together we can surely manage to handle ours. When I speak about making allowances based on potential, I'm thinking of situations such as the brother who is not very worldly who I can see in the future broadening his horizons, or the individual who isn't great at verbalizing his feelings but who through his actions demonstrates a kind and caring nature; even the brother who finds it difficult to stay level-headed when angry and thus can't truly have a constructive disagreement without requiring a "cool down" period. These are the kinds of things I typically make allowances for in the hope that I can help them get to their potential in these areas.

What I have learned so far though is that this probably is NOT the way to go. There is a definite shelf-life on potential, and as they say, "old dogs and new tricks don't mix". Unfortunately I am finding that if a brotha has reached the ripe, old age of forty-eleven and still is not in the neighborhood of his potential per his own assessment, it is most likely a destination he will never reach. Worse even, someway, somehow I always seem to end up [at least in his mind] being the reason his trip was aborted even if I just arrived on the scene only a short while ago. I'm guessing the same thing applies in reverse for the brothers out there; however, you guys very rarely get accused of "chasing white collars" even though "chasing white gurls" is a whole 'nother post :)

The long and short of it is that we single, successful, sistas over forty are trying our best to work with the brothas. On behalf of all of us, I'm asking that the brothas please try to work with themselves and stop hating on us if you choose not to.

Before he sends us to our lives here on earth, GOD loads us up with gifts. Some are obvious like a beautiful smile, great personality, and natural talents such as the ability to sing, dance, or excel at sports. Others are less obvious, and require some effort on our part to become obvious; but believe me when I say that these "not so obvious" gifts are no less valuable. As a matter of fact, I believe that GOD expects more from us when it comes to the kind of gifts represented by potential because it is one of the few opportunities we get while here on earth to actually be involved in a direct partnership with GOD.

So here's to hoping you are allowing your partnerships with GOD and with each other to flourish by way of maximizing your potential; I know I am working as hard as I can on mine.


Rose said...

I love the way you wrote this post about talents. I understand everything you said-I wish everyone would maximize their potential but unfortunately so amny folks don't have the courage or self esteem to reach their fullest potential.