Nobody wanted to be there.  We were mandated by the court to attend this session after filing for divorce, and there was a cacophony of kvetching as we waited for the four hours of suffering to begin.

Then the presenter started talking, and the minute the slideshow began, it was instantaneous: we were all fully engaged. I sat there, trying to analyze what it was about this woman that made us all sit up and pay attention.

Let’s see. She was middle-aged (ditto moi),  somewhat Rubenesque (not throwing scones here, I’m zaftig myself) and she had to use a cane to navigate the room (as do I, at times).

The subject matter was dry, but she had a stage presence and a wicked wit. As I looked around the room, I noticed that the men in particular were really attentive. One actually looked as if he was in love with her!

What in the world is it about this lady?  I wondered.

I came to the conclusion that she was gifted. I realized that it’s an intangible x factor that I call “zhoozh.”  Not your size.  Not your age. Not your occupation. Not the degree certificates you hang on the wall.

Nope.  It’s the zhoozh.  The thing you bring that sets you apart but somehow connects you to the rest of the world.  Uniquely you, but universal.

In the evangelical world, I’ve heard it referred to as “anointing.” Others say that someone is “filled with the Holy Ghost.”  In our everyday interactions, it really may just be as simple as someone having a cheerful spirit.

Someone asked Joel Osteen why he doesn’t focus more on theology and exegesis of the Scriptures.  He answered that he didn’t feel it was his “gifting.” It’s good to be so self-aware that you know where your talents are, and instead of focusing on what others do well, you can pour your energies into your own gifts.

Even though we may not all be stars on a small stage, as this woman was, we can surely do our best to lift up those around us with our faith-filled optimism. It can mean the difference between just getting through the day and realizing that life is an amazing gift.  With the right attitude, it’s all a wonderful adventure.