Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Writing & The Parable of the Talents

The Gospel reading at mass this past Sunday was on my favorite parable, "The Parable of the Talents", which is found in Matthew 25:14-30. It's the last parable in Matthew's gospel. We know the story: A wealthy master leaves on a journey and entrusts 8 talents to 3 slaves (each talent being worth about 15 years' worth of laborer wages), "each according to his abilities." The first slave is given 5 talents and he turns that into 5 more, the second is given 2 talents and he turns that into 2 more, but the third buries his 1 talent in the ground because he was afraid of his master. When the master returns he commends the first 2 slaves in the same way, but he admonishes the third as a "wicked, lazy slave" and throws him out of his house.

I've always viewed this parable as an allegory about the unique abilities God has given us, be it artistic, althetic, musical, etc. and our duty to maximize them as the best we can. I was born with the ability to draw and sculpt. Yes, I believe it is inate rather than learned because my mother was a good artist and my father was good in woodcrafting and from a very early age I could draw and sculpt in non traditional means--that is, I could make anything out of aluminum foil and colored tape. I believe I took those abilities as far as I could, but there was one ability that was always in the background, that combined those 2 talents--story telling. I never drew or sculpted in a vacuum. It was always related to a story I made, either purely original or something based on my favorite movies, TV shows, etc. The stories were elaborate, but I never bothered to write them down other than by basic outline. So, in essence, that ability has been with me the longest, but I had ignored it.

I blooged about in July about my creative epiphany back in November 1997 after I saw the movie TITANIC. Around that time "The Parable of the Talents" was a Gospel reading at mass. It was all linked for me. I had done nothing with my story telling abilities at that time. God had given me these creative gifts and I had been wasting them. I was that lazy, wicked slave. I had to make peace with God. I promised myself that after I graduated, passed the bar, and got a job I’d take some writing courses and start writing. No matter where my writing leads me, I know I've done my best to maximize my ability and will continue to do so to the best of my ability. As "The Parable of the Talents" reveals, that is all that God asks of me.

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