What Is Your Talent?

Joining a fundraising committee at 12 & 12, a local addiction treatment facility, has helped me realize how I can use my experiences and heart to help others.

My entire life I always wondered, “What is my talent?” I was okay at sports. For whatever reason, I started later in life. In fifth grade I started basketball. I loved to run, and all of my friends played. My first game I made a goal…for the other team.

Acting was something I thought was fun. I liked to pretend, speak in front of others and transport into someone else. But as I got older, I did not like to be the center of attention.

Being a student? Yet again, I was fine. Nothing that landed me as the Valedictorian, yet I never failed a class.

You always hear, “You should use your talents you are given.” I cannot craft to save my life. It is fun to play with craft supplies, but my mind will get bored mid-project, and I will walk away and start another task.

The one thing that I have had my entire life is a large heart. I recall being four, and my preschool had me sit next to a child who was being made fun of. No one actually ever said, “Jen, you are going to play with the child who is getting picked on.” It just hit me one day that he was chosen to sit next to me for lunch, at nap time, and then we had regular playdates. Looking back, I asked my Mom a few times about this. Overall my entire life I have been empathetic and not judgemental. Of course, I am human and have made mistakes, but for the majority of my life, I can say that is accurate.

In high school I was part of a group of kids that helped others going through personal issues. I have always spoken openly about my struggles in life, all for the purpose of hoping someone would not feel alone or could relate and ask for help.

As I have mentioned before in other blog posts, my Dad passed away from an accidental overdose. If you have never read a post from me before, here is the quick version of this. My Dad was that person who never made me feel judged yet always made me feel loved, and we just clicked. Kind of like a taste bud: You do not know why, but you just like something. When it came to my Dad, we always had a connection. I missed him when he was not with me. My Dad was the Dad everyone would want. Then he became addicted to painkillers, and he was never the same. His battle lead to his death at the young age of 49.

Today I felt like I am using my talents. On the day my Dad passed away, he was supposed to check in at 12 & 12. This is a treatment facility in Tulsa. This morning I attended my first meeting as part of their fundraising campaign. As I walked in, I had goosebumps. It is hard do describe. My heart also felt extra full. The sunrise this morning was beautiful. A mix of the bluest blues and a dash of pink. This committee has been passionately working for years to raise funds for 12 & 12. The group is wildly successful.

But in this group I do feel I have a sense of purpose and a huge opportunity to help talk about the need of support of those with addictions and mental illness. Also, to share the good work they are doing. More to come on all of this in the future.

The entire experience for me this morning just boils down to this: Keep listening to your gut. And always utilize your talents. Today I left this meeting feeling as though I am going to use my heart to help others. And like everyone reading this. When you find a sense of purpose in the chaos that is life, it feels good.

May all of you who have lost a loved one to addiction or know someone currently suffering, my heart goes out to you. My hope upon all hope is that they are given the resources to have the opportunity to recover. To all of my friends and family who listen to me talk about my Dad, thank you. Thank you for listening and all of your support.

It is joy to watch all of my tribe use their talents. Hoping you each share with me when you have a day where life seems to make sense.

Categories: Tulsa Times Two