When I was young, adults I came in contact with hinted at special talents and the ability to do good in some way.
As a young man, I was expected to take some kind of leadership role.
There was the suggestion that there was a path ahead for me and some special work for me to do. There was talk of teaching, politics, or some sort of ministry.
My best friend's father often told me there was valuable work to be done, and I would do it.
As I listened to what was being said about me and the expectations others had for me, I was aware of a gulf between their ideas of who I was and who I might become, and my own sense of who I was and what I was capable of.
I was certain of one thing: I wasn't talented in any of the activities where talent is usually required.
I couldn't sing well once my voice broke, or play a musical instrument; couldn't paint or sculpt; wasn't good at math or science - or sports.
The years passed. I served my time in the army, went to college, and did the work I had chosen for myself in one library after another, married the girl I had met when we were both still at school, and grew with her as our children made their entry into the world.
We worked hard, bought a house, became a family, watched the children grow and go to work and marry and make their families.
We were there to share their successes and reverses, there at the birth of each of their children, there for their children as they grew.
There were holidays on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, where the family grew closer and each individual member found a valued place by the sea, among the rocks, beneath the clouds, in the rain.
Some of our happiest family moments were when the children - now grown - came back to the places where we had all been together when they were little, so we could be together again.
Life grew richer as I became we and I forgot about what was said earlier, forgot the expectations others had for me, forgot that there was supposed to be some special work for me to do.
My work at the library richly rewarded me for the time spent there.
There may be better jobs, but I don't know what they are.
The bringing together of someone searching for something with the something they were searching for brought daily satisfaction.
It was then that I realized that I had been doing all along what I was intended to do.
Rather than being a shining light among others, I had used the small skills I had to help others to shine.
Then I retired from my work at the library, and over time, two things happened:
I joined New Westminster singer and harpist, Lori Pappajohn in creating a program called Winter Harp, and The TIMES invited me to write a column.
The years went by and I researched and wrote for Winter Harp and The TIMES, and I have been happy and fulfilled doing both.
The people who had their ideas of what I should do are long dead.
I know I would not have been a competent teacher, minister, or politician - and I'm glad I followed my own path.
If there is a moral in this little tale, I think that's it.