By Rita Garcia
Natural ability Ė is it really natural? As I was pondering this question I was transported back to my childhood.
There I was, perched on a stool, watching my mother make a cake. She took the big mixing bowl and started adding one ingredient after another. She seldom measured anything. As she added cocoa to the mixture, I inhaled the sweet smell of chocolate. I could hardly wait as she began pouring the batter into the cake pans.
"You want to lick the bowl?" she said, with a knowing smile.
I went right to work with the big wooden spoon, and I cleaned every smidgen of batter from that big mixing bowl.
Once I grew up, my mother came to visit. She sat watching me prepare dinner.
"Are you sure I canít help?" she offered.
"I only wish I had your natural ability for cooking," I told her.
She smiled as she answered me. "Natural ability? I hardly think so."
"Mom, I can remember watching you cook; you rarely measured anything, and never used a recipe."
"It was much more a case of practice, practice, and more practice. Thatís where most natural ability comes from," she assured me.
My mind snapped back to the present. I decided to go talk to my neighbor. Over a cup of tea I said to her, "Can I ask you a couple of questions."
"I hope I know the answers," she laughed.
"Youíre very accomplished at playing the piano. Do you feel you have a natural ability?"
"I believe I have a God-given talent, but years of lessons, with years of practice, combined with His divine guidance, have given me my so called natural ability."
"You recorded your second CD last year. Not everyone who takes lessons is necessarily successful," I told her.
"I am very blessed, but make no mistake about it, I also work very hard. I practiced for months before doing my CD last year. So many times I have had to fight discouragement; let me assure you, along with practicing, I spent time on my knees. Think of our great singers, they have a magnificent God-given gift. Yet, many of them have voice coaches to help them develop their voice to its highest potential," she said.
Later that evening I sat on the patio, gazing at the stars, still mulling this idea of natural ability over in my mind.
I know for sure writing takes a great deal of persistence. However, I recall when I thought that if I was really and truly called to be a writer, shouldnít it be easier? I donít know about you, but at one time I thought a successful writer sat down and simply started putting words to paper, then submitted a manuscript to their publisher, and bam a new book hit the best sellersí list.
I shared this concept with an author of childrenís books and she was quite amused, as she gave me some much needed insight.
"By the time I finish with the editing of a book, I am so tired of it, I donít ever want to look at it again."
I listened to an artist talk about his climb on the ladder of success. His work is inspirational and it is obvious he possesses an awesome gift. He expressed how important his personal relationship with Christ is. He talked about how hard he worked to learn the art of placing on canvas the painting in his mindís eye. Practice, practice, and more practice. There it was again, hard work!
Natural ability, is it so natural?
This then is the recipe for natural ability that I gleaned in light of my thought and research.
Start with dreaming, a beautiful God given dream.
Mix in, completely, a constant covering of prayer.
Fold in a heaping scoop of strong faith.
Combine with oodles of blood, sweat and tears.
Burn the midnight oil as needed.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
Rita Garcia is an inspirational speaker and freelance writer. She and her husband reside in Southern California. Rita is the mother of four and enjoys being a grandmother. You may contact Rita via the Letters page of this magazine.
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