Creative Thinking: Each of us has talents that shine

November 17, 2013 

Recently, we were having work done on our house. A man was replacing some boards that had seen better days. It’s one of the responsibilities that comes when you own an older house -- or any house for that matter.

Many people are able to fix things around their homes themselves. A hammer, a saw and a ladder are the tools they use. Well those, and maybe a nail here and there. That always amazes me because I wouldn’t know where to even begin.

The bright and sunny afternoon the repairman was working on our house, I had to create a wreath for a client. I opted to open the door to our garage, set up a table and assemble the wreath while enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors. I gathered the things I needed to construct a wreath, including my glue gun, and began the job in front of me.

The sound a hammer makes as it strikes a nail ricocheted around from the other side of the house. Every so often it would stop only to be followed by the sharp sound of a saw slicing through wood. I could smell the fresh cut aroma of wood as the saw dust blew around in the gentle breeze.

I love that smell because it takes me directly back to my granddaddy’s garage where he built many things over the years. As I listened to the sounds and smells of construction, I continued to work on the wreath in front of me.

Several times, the workman would climb down off the ladder and go to his truck to retrieve more supplies. I would see him quickly glance over at me to see what I was doing. He never said anything, only pausing for a second. I asked him how it was going on the other side of the house and he replied, “Just fine.” As he rounded the corner of the house, I could hear him shuffle back up the ladder and the unmistakable sounds of hammering resumed.

Putting the finishing touches on the wreath, I began to think how very different the jobs were we were doing. We were both working for a living. We were both using specific tools. But, my job was purely for adornment while his was necessary to keep our home protected from the elements.

I muttered to myself that creating the wreath was easy compared to what he was doing. “I couldn’t do what he’s doing,” I said to myself.

I finished decorating the wreath way ahead of him and began to tidy up the mess I’d made. Putting away some of the fragments I hadn’t used, I noticed him walking back to his truck. He paused right in front of the wreath I had just created and began to shake his head in disbelief.

“You did that in no time flat,” he said, still shaking his head. “I can’t believe it! You certainly know what you’re doing. What I know is I could never do something like that,” he said, pointing to the wreath. I smiled and told him thanks. He continued walking toward his truck.

What he said caused me to pause and contemplate all the thoughts that had been going through my mind as we worked. He was amazed at what I had accomplished just as I was with him. We are all amazed at things other people do that we can’t do. No one can do everything.

My mind began to wander back to a person I’d met the week before. As he talked about his job, I stood there with my mouth open. Important information and facts flew out of his mouth like a bird set free from its cage.

I couldn’t even keep up with it, much less understand what it meant. I felt almost inadequate as I listened to him. Then I realized if I were to hand him a canvas and a brush and ask him to paint, he would probably feel the exact same way.

“Hey,” I said as the workman walked past me again. “We all have certain things we can do that seem to come easy for us. We are all given gifts. I could never do what you do! Without you doing what you do, there would be no house to hang this wreath I created on. It takes all of us to complete the circle.” He smiled and nodded as he went back to where he was working.

In this life we are all blessed with certain talents. Some people’s talents seem to shine brighter than others but, during the years, I’ve learned they’re really not. If anything, they just shine in a different way.

My mother always taught me that no one is more important than anyone else. We are all placed on this earth for a reason. What our real job is in this life is to discover what we do best and do it. That’s what makes us complete.

Many years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Those are very wise and powerful words. If each of us did just that, this world would be a better place!

More with Mark

• Join Mark on Friday-Sunday at the Mistletoe Market at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry. Mark will do a live stage presentation each day at noon. He’ll also have all his new holiday merchandise, new book of columns and comedy DVD on hand. For more information, visit

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