“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Over time, I have come to realize that talents are rare and precious:

"To one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to another, one; each according to his own ability."

In my life, I have received many, many talents in the form of gifts. These have included things that brought me joy – a loving family, enlightened mentors, the possibility of and the desire for learning – but also things that have brought me sorrow, such as my mother's death.

I remember that at her funeral, the church and the lawn were filled with scores of people she had touched with her life: her family, her friends, her teaching colleagues, and her past students. I was humbled when I saw the gratitude she had earned by nurturing and donating her talents. At that moment, I realized what her final gift was: showing me how to live my life.

I feel the responsibility to follow her example and spend my life returning the talents that have been lent to me: I want to do that by breeding love in my growing family, by sharing my knowledge with those it can help, by creating the opportunity for learning for people less lucky than me. I also want to help others see the gifts that are often hidden in sorrows.

I hope to reach the end of my road and see a church filled with people for whom my life was my gift paid back.

— Paolo Tosato