Who has not wished they had a quality of another?
“I wish I could play piano like her.”
“I wish I was less intimidated.”
“I wish I was more tender hearted like her.”
And on and on… Well, I’m going to tell you a story of two women inspired by a beautiful, amazing friend of mine.
I hate to admit it but my whole adult life it seems like I have really struggled to accept my own personality. I have looked to other women with comparison as I thought how much better of a person I would be if I could just be more like her and less like me. More caring, more gentle, more simple, less forceful and strongwilled, more patient and understanding.
My husband and I recently made a trip to Monticello in Virginia and it hit me like a bag of bricks. How important each strength is.
The villiage had been in turmoil for sometime now. Surrounding villages had moved closer to their boarders and war was looming. The economy was bad and the complacency among the villagers just seemed to make recovery impossible, let alone success in battle.
Rebecca was a sweet, shy, quiet girl. She played the violin and had the most magical singing voice you’d ever heard. She could most often be found singing or reading to the children in her village. She was a nurturer by nature and always willing to help anyone in need no questions asked. Rebecca often felt forgotten. She wondered why she could not be more like her sister Amanda? She was a girl who knew what needed to be done and stepped up to do it. No one ever forgot Amanda. When she entered a room everyone stopped and listened. Rebecca always felt overshadowed by her. Amanda was passionate, but often came off as bossy and controlling by those who did not know her. Some people struggled with Amanda’s strong personality. It seemed like there was never a shortage of opposition to her leadership. She handled it like a champ, even though inside she would have given anything for Rebecca’s quiet strength and compassion. Rebecca seemed to have a way of gaining the love of all She came in contact with. Amanda had a passion that was not often found in a person of her age and background. Inspiring others came so effortlessly to her but what she wouldn’t give to also be able to connect on a personal level like her sister could.
The morning of the village meeting came. Amanda stood behind the stage,pacing back and forth, repeating her talking points in her mind.
“What do you need?” Came Rebecca’s soft voice.
“I can’t do this. It’s the whole village. I’m only sixteen they won’t take me seriously.”
“I believe in you. Our whole life you have never shrunk from any challenge. You were asked to speak because You have what it takes. You can do this. If anyone can motivate them it’s you.” She said as she wrapped her arms around her sister. Rebecca’s true and unconditional love was a silent motivator.
Amanda stepped out on stage and as she stood in front of hundrends of adults she took a deep breath and began to speak.
“Becca,” a small voice said. It was one of the orphan children. “Im scared. Will you sing to me.”
“Of course I will.” She said as she reached down for his hand, “what song should we sing?” The little boy looked up at her with his big brown eyes and smiled “sing Amazing Grace.” As she began to softly sing she heard the crowd cheer. She could her her sisters voice now full of confidence and passion, “The future is full of endless possibilities. All it takes is for you to open up your minds…” The crowd cheered again.
Sixteen years later the village was flourishing. Years prior they were surrounded by stronger village’s just waiting to defeat them and they were so poor and destitute defeat should have been easy. When asked by a news organization how their tiny village beat the odds. A young man in his twenties spoke up. He said “I never doubted for a moment.”
“How did you know?” Asked the reporter.
“I grew up an orphan. A throw away kid if you will, but my growing up years were full of love and hope. I had a friend who always sang to me, she taught me how to read. She loved me no matter what. Love is the most powerful thing. It can change people. I knew if I could go from a throw away kid to a doctor because of love than this town could recover because of love too.”
A woman from the crowd pipped up “Some people find their callings early in life. We used to have a girl in our village who had the ability to inspire people. To move them to action. She is largely responsible for jumpstarting our industry again. I was about her age, just a teenager when She gave the men and women in our village the hope we had lost.”
“What happened to her?” Asked the reporter.
“She died two years ago from consumption. The village still mourns her loss. She was our hero. She was the engine behind our recovery. Her and her sister. Two very different women, together saved our village from utter destruction.
So back to my trip to Monticello. The revolution was a very complex event. The war was one part of it but what happened with in the walls of the Contential Congress was something entirely different. Equally as complex. I always used to think they all got along and worked it out in love and understanding. No. It took a very long time. Hearts were changed and softened, people were refined but all personality traits remained the same, and all were needed for success. Washington was once quiet and kept to himself but his humility was needed in order to lead the Army under God’s direction and win. Jefferson was abrupt and not everyone liked his forceful nature but his personality was needed in order to write and deliver such a bold document as the Declaration of Independence, and then to be so bold as to purchase the land in the Lousianna Purchase expanding the U.S.A. almost to what it is today. I could go on and on but my point is that although there is nothing at all wrong with the desire to acquire more skills or refine the ones we have, don’t ever disregard your gifts and talents and personality traits as less than others. You were created for a purpose and everything you need to accomplish your work on this earth you already have. Spend less time wishing you had what someone else has and more time learning what you do have and how to refine it and use it for good.