Becoming Aware of Our Gifts by Marq Loza

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
— 1 Corinthians 13:12

Marq Loza is a South Coast Life Together Fellow serving at Centra Comunitario de Trabajadores (The Worker's Center). He lives in intentional community with Karacan Sayrun-Thomas in Fall River. He preached the following reflection at Church of the Holy Spirit, Fall River on January 31.   

Throughout my time in college at Oregon State I tried to take advantage of the opportunities I had. Although I was like other millennials and didn't know exactly what I want in life, I did know that that I have a wide range of interests. So as a student majoring in history, I also took time to study other fields, anatomy, physics, sustainability, chemistry, biology, philosophy, religion and even country western dancing -- just to name a few. The way I saw it, being in college gave me unique access to sets of knowledge and skills in a way which I’m not sure I will ever have again. 

Aside from that I took two jobs which were radically different from each other. For two and a half years, I worked for the university’s crop and soil science department, there I would spend the fall and winter months turning individual grains of pollen into barley plants by duplicating the strands of DNA in the pollen. In the summer months we’d all head out to the farm and harvest the barley from the fields. What a great time I had!

During the last year and a half of college, I worked for the university’s special collections and archives. There I was paid to research and write about the life and work of Oregon State’s most famous alumnus, Linus Pauling. A man who revolutionized both science and peace movements.

I loved both jobs and couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do them. There was however, one down-side to both these jobs. Both of them made me feel as though I lacked the computer skills an employee in the modern world should have. Whether it was because I struggled to manage data for an experiment or because at times I couldn’t figure out how to use the software needed in archival work, I always felt like my technological skills were hopelessly limited.

This didn’t change until a few months ago, when my site placement supervisor and I decide to re-organize the files at the New Bedford Community Worker’s Center. At that time, we decided to take piles upon piles of papers and turn them into a combination of spreadsheets and alphabetized folders. When we were done, several weeks later, it seemed as though the small office had doubled in size. what’s more, in the process we learned new ways to store and find information in a much quicker, more convenient way. And that’s when I realized that my seemingly limited and pitiful computer skills had just addressed a something that was becoming a problem.

You may be wondering why I’ve chosen to take up your time on this Sunday morning to share my resume with you. Yes, I am looking for a job to start when my time with the Life Together program comes to an end, but that’s not the reason. I mainly chose to speak to you of these work experiences because I think they illustrate how difficult it is to become aware of our gifts. Sometimes we may even be certain that we don’t have them when in reality we do. That was the case for me when I thought of my computer skills and now when I look back I realize that even if I feel incompetent, I must remain faithful to the work I do because I realize that it is only in being faithful that I can turn my weaknesses into gifts and support others along the way.