Letters to Lelia – Letter Four – Cherishing your gift (excerpt)

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In time the stories started seeking me out, quietly, like scaredy cats trying to assess if I’m their friend or foe, and then, their worries eased, laid gently under my fingers, happy to be told. I wrote about the placid ostriches grazing on the wind swept cliffs that edged the bright blue ocean and the stadium in Cape Town, a giant donut dominating the city and making the boat docks look smaller than toys. I wrote about the sheltered gulfs that trimmed the peninsula with openwork embroidery and sunshine pouring through wide green canyons like fire water, creating haloes around the silhouettes of the giraffes projected on the amber sky at sunset. I wrote about the roars of the lions at night and the brick colored dirt, very much like the one we have here, and just like it glowing even brighter under the vibrantly green vegetation.

Most of all, I wrote about people, I welcomed their stories of courage and wisdom, of overcoming adversity and amazing fortune. Some of the stories were true, some received the benefit of poetic license, and much like the wonderful world that we created here, it became harder and harder to remember which was what. Their collective meaning became another reality, intricately connected to this one, but brighter and more vivid, a world of aspirations and ideals eagerly waiting on the brink of existence to pass into reality.

Our adventures here have surpassed any literary work I could ever dream up, but then again this hand made world of ours, Terra Two, is not just another place in the universe, it is a symbol and an embodiment of the best humanity has to offer. I love this world, you see, with all my heart and soul, this world that looks so small and fragile from space, surrounded by its wobbly titanium ring, this world which blossomed right under my eyes, turning desert into paradise. If there is one constant in my experience, and I hesitate to recall exactly how far back that experience goes, it is life’s uncanny ability to reinvent itself by reframing contexts and events. You look at something you thought you already knew and suddenly see it in a completely different light, wondering why you never noticed it before.

I remained an adept singer and I still perform, on occasion, in one of the auditoria of our surprisingly roomy Institute, but there is something about writing that brings out the best in me and gives me joy. As we advance in wisdom joy is a prized commodity we can’t afford to miss, so find the expression of your soul in whatever form it may come, and lend it your voice. Time passes and things change, but you can’t un-write a poem, or un-sing a song, they are the untarnished part of you that remains after you sift out the daily grind.

Of course you’re wondering what is a Conservatory graduate doing terra forming a planet, but that is a strange explanation I will give you some other time. What I wanted to say now is that God gifts us with talents, some obvious, some carefully hidden. You have to honor both, my dear, and cultivate them whether or not you have an audience, because they weren’t given you to make you shine, you’re but a custodian of a small portion of the grace God poured into this world.

(From Letters to Lelia – Letter Four – Cherishing your gift)

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