Friday, January 25, 2008

What's it worth?

I have a hang up, but I’m not quite sure how to define it. It’s like I have this compulsion to make sure I know the value of material objects in order that I never pay over what it is actually worth. For example, yesterday I ordered my usual drink in the Starbucks drive-thru, and as waited to hear the familiar total rattled back at me, I was suddenly thrown into a conundrum as the up-beat barista projected through the drive-thru speaker a total 37 cents higher than expected. I quickly checked the menu just to make sure I hadn’t missed a recent price hike, but sure enough, it was the same. Now I had a dilemma. As I waited the next 14 minutes (I’m not kidding…our Starbucks is really that slow) before I reached the window, I debated about how I could gently and non-offensively let the girl know that I had been overcharged. It’s not the 37 cents per se, but the principle of the matter that is important, or at least that’s what I was telling myself. Well, as it turns out, the mistake was discovered without my help, and I was spared the unpleasantness of confrontation.

Okay, I know that by this point some of you have figured out exactly how to define my little quirk: I am cheap. I hate to own it, but when I consider my habits (I shop on ebay, Target is my department store of choice, and I won’t buy anything at the mall unless its on sale), the evidence is against me. I guess my point is that I seem to have no trouble in assessing the worth of inanimate objects. Not that this is some special talent I possess, it’s just something I’ve noticed lately. As I was thinking on this, it occurred to me that maybe I was better at judging the value of the inconsequential things in life than I am those things which are truly important.

This came as a shock initially. After all, the events of the past few days, and then before that of the past few months, have shown me how precious the lives of every one of these special babies truly is. But then I realized that’s not what I’m having trouble with. What I’m really missing is the value of every other life. The lives of the people who are healthy as well as those who are sick. It’s like it takes a terminal illness in order for me to see how valuable people really are. I can guarantee you that if Poppy had lived, I never would have had one moment of frustration with her because I knew that her condition was frail, and I would have wanted to cherish each and every moment. Yet, I find myself getting all worked up and annoyed at people--close friends, acquaintances, or total strangers alike--over the silliest things. I thought last night, “What if Nathan were sick with cancer? Would I get irritated over something silly like getting hit in the head with lip gloss as a result of his poor aim?” I don’t have to think about it long because I know the answer. And to be honest, it leaves me disappointed in myself.

I couldn’t go to sleep last night as I considered my actions. I hate that on a daily basis I treat people as less valuable than they really are. I hate that I get irritated at people over the things they do that don't match up to whatever preconceived standards I have set for them. I hate that I can’t truly grasp a person’s worth until I am faced with his or her death. That’s not how I want to be. As I continued to think, I realized that each and every person on this earth has the same intrinsic value as Poppy or any of the other babies who have gone on to be with Jesus, because every human life gets its value from the same source: Jesus. It is the love of Jesus that gives us our value, and His love is the same for each and every life He creates. I want to learn to act on this truth each and every day, and not just the ones that bring tragedy. I think it all boils down to wanting to love people better. Something that will take a lifetime of work, but will yield the greatest reward.


Chrissy said...

You sound like me when it comes to being cheap. I do the same thing but I on the other hand come off too strong when approaching someone who over-charged me. I have to say that I am the same way when it comes to the aspect of how I value others. Something I have to work on as well. Hope you are doing well these days. I pray for you often as the adoption process continues.

Anonymous said...

You are not cheap if you buy coffee from Starbucks.

KrazyMom said...

On your topic of how you value others, you are only human. We all are guilty of that. I often think of how I treat one of my daycare children who is misbehaving, compared to how I scold my own child when she in, WHY am I so much harder on her? I think everyone has room for growth in how we treat and value others.

I had to laugh at your conscious spending. We are now the same way. Let me just say that paying adoption fees will only magnify it. :)

mom2izzyandallen said...

Wow! I don't know you but linked to your blog from a couple other "hops". The Lord has been working in my heart about this very thing. Thanks for stating it so clearly. I am praying for you and your family!

Jesse's girl said...

I completely agree with this post. I can relate (in the cheap department), and also have realized by following and praying for all the T-18 families that you are absolutely right about the worth of an infant life. All babies are special and truly gifts from our Father.

I can still remember the night that Copeland daughter who was around 4months old at the time, woke up proably 5 times throughout the night, just wanting to be held by her mommy. And for the first time in awhile, I was not frustrated with her. I gladly got up, cuddled her, rocked her, and prayed Thanksgiving over her, thinking, "I would rather get up 5 times for my crying baby, then sleep through a night of silence with no baby." Every rough day since, I think you of you ladies, and my heart breaks. My pain and frustration is nothing compared to each of yours.

I hate that. I hate that it took someone else's loss and hurt to make me appreciate what I have. But it is true. Each of your precious journies have reminded me to be thankful for everything...the good, the bad, the ugly, you name it. To never take anything for granted. And to realize that every life is of equal worth.

Thank you for continuing to write. You have a tremendous gift, and I'm blessed to be able to "know" you and pray for you and your sweet family.

Kim said...

That is very interesting...we were discussing the misconceptions that we have about our value on Sunday morning at church. And the conclusion that our Bible study leader came to is that our problem is that we are trying to assess a person's value by their condition rather than their purpose. Every person born on this earth has had the same purpose - to glorify God! :)

I hope you are well - how are you healing from the c-section?

So Blessed said...

"It is the love of Jesus that gives us our value, and His love is the same for each and every life."

How precious is this truth!

One of my favorite quotes has always been "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."

When we can grasp this, how differently we will respond to each and every person we come in contact with. Then we'll really be loving as Jesus loved.

Through your pain you are learning many beautiful lessons that will enrich your life.

I am praying for you as you continue in your grief journey.

Anonymous said...

I also got here from hopping through blogs. What you have said about how to consider others is also something the Lord has been working on in my life. I see things in my own life more clearly now because of your words and the video of Poppy Joy. Thank you for living and sharing your life for the Lord's glory.

Just Me said...

I was surprised to find you reflecting on something like this. It made me think "wow, she really is human!" Only kidding, but honestly, the first time I came to your site, I was AMAZED by your wisdom and your gift of taking each moment and cherishing it--to see the joy in everything and everyone. I know that personally you have shown me a new perspective on life and making moments special, even in hard times. I KNOW there have been times that I have read your words and been encouraged to make the most of a seemingly "icky" day, and reminded that to live another day is a gift that not everyone is granted. Don't be too hard on yourself--I agree that sometimes it is VERY hard to be nice all the time! It is good to be reminded that we are supposed to treat everyone with kindness and respect like Jesus did :o)

Lauren said...

I'm so glad you wrote this blog. It is somethng I think we all do and need to start walking the way you are. Thank you for writing this and opening my eyes. You are a strong woman and you and Poppy are leaving footprints on people you don't even know! :-)

Anonymous said...

Amen. As I was reading this, you were totally pinpointing the emotion I feel everday as I remember Poppy and Copeland Farley and all the other babies out there yet still get frustrated at my children.

Stephanie said...

This one really struck home, but I don't feel comfortable saying how,just yet.

I hope this won't seem too frivolous, but there is an award for you on my site. I am very sincere about it, but will understand if it doesn't show up here.

Thanks Angie!

amanda said...

such a good word! just so ya know i got used my discount when i bought your eggnog latte on your delivery day! i would have paid full price though! i hope we can get together soon!

Fern said...

I appreciate this post so much. I definitely have had the same types of thoughts as I've followed your journey and Yvette's and Boothe's. Oh, I'm so grateful for my healthy baby! But oh, how I wish she'd shut up! For me, my reflections on this have led me to the conclusion that part of relaxing and enjoying life without fear is being able to take your family and friends a bit for granted. If I knew my time with my 3-year-old was limited (as it absolutely is, for even the healthiest child) would I be angry at him for raking the side of the minivan with his little metal rake? No, of course not. Would I be mad at my other 3-year-old for telling me to get him juice NOW or he would kill me? Maybe, but I'd probably laugh it off rather than freaking out and googling what the heck is wrong. I have to pretend all of these good things in my life are permanent, or I focus too much on the future loss to enjoy the present and past that I share with them.

I have been so blessed by everything you've written on your journey with Poppy. You've helped me to deal with my (sometimes obsessive and unhealthy) fear of losing my children. I have had a whole shift in perspective, from where I had no idea how I'd take the next breath if one of them died, to where now I think that I would be able to continue because of the memories of the time I've been lucky enough to have with them.

Just wanted to say thanks. You and Nathan and Marianna are in my prayers. (Speaking of which, how do you pronounce Marianna's name?)