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.