How do you define the value of a life? Of your life?
Society has given us many ways to define value…or is that success as value…? All of us are almost programmed with lists of things we have to want to be, do and achieve in order to be estimated as valuable. But, when all is said and done, when there is nobody left but you and nothing other than your thoughts and memories – your heart – what are the things that make you feel valuable? What are the things you think about and treasure?
Tonight, as I was sitting on the Gautrain coming home with my youngest godson sleeping on my lap, I realised once again that those are the moments that matter. That those are the things we should be striving toward. When I think back on my life those are the moments I remember, the moments that make my heart feel like bursting with a sense of purpose and wellbeing. Another life trusting me enough to be completely vulnerable with me. I once thought that what you put out into the world, those things that the world around us measures as being successful, would make me feel valuable. But I have come to realise that it is not the academic article I write for three people to read and one to like; the qualifications that I have; the amount of things on society’s checklist that I have been able to tick off, or even living up to what others see as my potential that makes my being present, my living here, meaningful.
The moments that life, my life, has made the most sense were those moments spent with others. It is only in seeing/recognising one another (which implies being and respecting yourself and allowing others the same courtesy), in journeying together and discussing everything from farting to world peace that we can ever start to know what true value is – in the best of times and in the worst of times.
“Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.” – Ayn Rand
“Different things delight different people. But it is my delight to keep the ruling faculty sound without turning away either from any man or from any things which happen to men, but looking at and receiving all with welcome eyes and using everything according to its value.” – Marcus Aurelius
“He who does not feel his friends to be the world to him, does not deserve that the world should hear of him.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe