Travis is quiet. I am not talking about being shy or silent; he is friendly and speaks freely. There is just a "quietness" about who is he and how he conducts himself. I often wondered if this quiet demeanor was manifest because of birth order; he is the youngest of four boys and also a middle child. I reasoned that it was just easier for Travis to do his own quiet thing in his own way rather than try to compete with all the commotion that surrounded him as a result of a large family. I started to rethink that theory about five years ago prior to him leaving on his mission. I am sure that the above mentioned situations did have affect on who Travis is, but I have come to believe that his stillness, quietness, even the ability to be silent, are gifts that Heavenly Father gave to him specifically, as His spirit child.
Travis engages in a conversation not so that others can hear what he has to say, but rather so he can listen to what they have to say. He really does listen, takes it in and is still often silent. I have noticed this many, many times and have come to the conclusion that there are not to many people who can actually listen and be silent. Many listen and bide their time so that they can interject their wisdom and be heard. But Travis is different. The value for him, is not to impress or sway others with his knowledge and understanding, but to truly understand what has been spoken and gain knowledge from it. I am in awe of such a gift, because it is rare indeed.
This gift of quietness is not just manifest in his conversations. Last week while we were all gathered at Daniel and Emily's apartment to make sushi, I watched Trav. I was curious how he would react to Cali seeing the crazy and obnoxious, even inappropriate, aspects of our family. While we were all engaged in singing the Pappenfuss song, with Cali right there witnessing this oddity, Travis was silent. That did not mean he wasn't a participant in this little exchange. His eyes were twinkly and he was grinning and those things spoke volumes. I could be wrong, but I sensed he wasn't ashamed or even embarrassed. It was just his "quiet" way of being part of it.
I felt this phrase of scripture from Isaiah suited Travis not just because of his gift of quietness, but the second part has meaning for him as well. . "...Confidence shall be your strength". Travis is an imposing person, not just because of his size and good looks, but because of who he is on the inside. His amazing athletic talent, a darling girlfriend on his arm, and even his ability to engage in an intellectual discussion are all great showy, things, but they are not the things that will build the strength and characteristic of confidence. Confidence comes from being comfortable with who you are deep down inside. It comes from liking who you are and valuing your talents and worth. Travis has every reason to like and value who he is. He is a sensitive, caring person who has a good, kind heart. His testimony and love of the gospel are deeply rooted in who he is and how he conducts himself. His smile and playful nature make him approachable and gentle. All are such endearing traits that give him confidence. Yes, and even his "quietness" is a source of confidence.
I am grateful to be the mother of a quiet boy who grew up to be a quiet man. I will be honest....sometimes I am intimidated by his quietness. Sometimes I want him to be boisterous and loud, so I hear him and know where he stands. But I have learned there is power in his "quietness". I have learned a thing or two as I have witnessed this power in his life. Travis, I hope you will continue to develop and nurture the confidence that accompanies such a unique gift. Happy Birthday son. I love you. Mommy