Once, a young girl possessed two things: a talent and a passion to write—along with a stub of a pencil. From the time she learned to read, her passion drove her to practice her talent. She poured time and creativity into her talent; it began to develop as it should. The years passed and more things came into her life and she spent less time on her talent. The girl still had her passion, and she knew that someday she would write.
The girl grew up. She would catch herself thinking about her talent sometimes, and even after years had passed she felt a little sting whenever she met someone else with time and opportunity to write and achieve great things. She began to doubt herself, thinking perhaps the talent was not really hers, that she was just fooling herself with wishes. “This is not my talent,” she said. “I am going to find a new one.” So she did.
The girl, who was now a young woman, set off on a journey. She walked for miles. When she met those with talents different from the one she carried, she asked them to share with her. Most gave gladly, happy to give that which had brought them so much joy. The first person she met was a woman with a beautiful shining talent that was admired by all who heard her voice. The traveller tried out the talent, and liked it well enough, but in the end, she knew that this was not hers.
The girl then met a group of people with a big rugged talent. “This is it,” she thought, joining their circle. The people taught her many things, but again, the girl was not satisfied. She moved on.
Along the road, the girl saw a boy about to run past her. Seeing that he carried a talent, she stopped him. When she asked to have his talent, he gave it to her, with a doubtful glance. The girl put all her might into this new talent, straining her muscles in the effort, but it was in vain. “I am not strong enough for this talent,” she said sorrowfully, handing it back to the boy.
Walking away, she hung her head. “There is nothing I can do. I have no talent.” At that moment, she was passing by the home of a wise man. He called out to her and she approached him. “You have no talent, you say. Why?”
The girl hung her head, shame filling her body. “I am on a journey,” she told him “I have been looking for a talent, and have tried many, but I cannot find one that is mine.” The old man shook his head, in sympathy, the girl thought.
“What do you carry in your pack?” He asked.
“Only two things.” She opened her bag and took out her possessions, showing them to the man.
“There is a talent!” He pointed. “Why don’t you try that one?”
“Oh, not that one. I’m looking for a new one.” The girl shoved it back into her bag and hastily closed the flap. The wise man sighed and placed his hand on the girl’s arm.
“Look at me.” Slowly, she brought her eyes up to meet his. He continued, “What you have there may be the only talent you are going to get. It is the one that is part of you, and the one you need to cultivate, whether you have time or not.”
“But how do you know? What if I can’t do it?” The girl was near tears.
“Because of the other thing you possess, your passion. Passion is all that matters when it comes to talents. Your passion is what made you develop your writing from a young age, and think about it even when you could not use your gift. You will succeed, because you have passion.” The wise man pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to her. It was a pen. “With your talent and your passion, this is the only other thing you need.”
He turned around and slowly walked back into his house. The girl was stunned. She had never believed that her passion had that much to do with her talent, but now she must believe; the wise man had said it. Turning around, the girl tucked the pen into her pack and headed home. She felt at peace with herself and her abilities. She had found her talent.
(By Joanna Clark Dawyd. Please do not reprint without permission. This little story was originally published in the 2011 anthology by Polar Expressions Publishing)