What are they worth?
Becoming a mum has challenged my perception of value.
My eldest son’s body doesn’t co-ordinate it’s multitude of muscles to produce functional movement or mobility. His limp limbs often hang from his trunk without purpose or strength.
If a car only had one functioning wheel it wouldn’t be considered a very good car, because its purpose is to move, and take people with it. Yet neither of my sons’ value is tied up in what their bodies can, or cannot do.
Neither is my love for them tainted or heightened by their achievements or failures.
To go back to the auction room metaphor, a chewed biro used to sign a Beatles record deal may fetch hundreds of pounds at a specialist auction, not because its materials are worth anything, but because people value the story and what it signifies.
Equally my son and his body becomes increasingly valuable and treasured as those who love and care for him recognise the spirit, person and story he holds.
Value therefore isn’t just something that can be measured in logical terms according to the qualities contained.
Value comes from us.
It comes from me and you, from how much we think something or someone is worth.
A year ago a piece of art work was unveiled at our local children’s hospice. Both of my boys designed and contributed clay pieces along with other children with life limiting conditions and their families. The sculptures central message was a Helen Keller quote,
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú they must be felt with the heart .
This articulates the belief that all of the wondrous, mystical and greatest parts of our lives don’t fit into logic and can’t be satisfactorily explained by theory. They are felt and lived, experienced beyond our five senses. They may not be able to be pinned down or articulated, but they are no less real or life-sustaining then oxygen.
The fragility of my eldest sons life, and the likelihood that he will not reach adulthood, means we as a family strive to live in a way that shows what is important to us. The reality of our future could dampen our outlook and crush our spirits, and at times it has, but today we aren’t waiting for the future to inflict itself on us. Rather we are determined to live today with what we value being most vibrantly expressed.
This process often happens when a traumatic or life changing event takes places. We stop and take stock. We evaluate what we are doing and whether life is how we want it to look.
It would be great if we could re-evaluate our life without the tragedy.
So today I no longer see busyness as an aspiration. In the past I have strived to prove my worth by what do or I have achieved. Just the innocent question from my husband of, “What have you done today?” makes me sweat, as I instinctively try to justify myself and the ‘work’ I have undertaken.
How did I get so obsessed with telling others how busy, and therefore important I am?
Over recent months I have changed tack and begun to value rest. I value knitting and creating. I value space in life and sleep; and I recognise that my worth and that of others is not based on what I do.
The dozens of mums I know who don’t go on the Internet and spill their guts about their lives, are no less inspirational as they diligently and silently work away loving and caring for their children.
I believe there is as much importance in hanging up my family’s laundry than publishing a book; it is me doing what I am created and called to do.
It is still a challenge though, as I strive to see my own weaknesses without feeling de-valued. I’m challenged to see and celebrate the achievements of others without it causing me to want to defend my own worth by chipping in my own accomplishments.
For me I believe this comes from knowing that I am carefully Created and immeasurably loved. It comes as I let my life reflect this truth because it isn’t just something I believe with my head but my heart too.
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