On Nothing

When doing your best is nothing at all

I’m in a lot of pain this week. I almost sent out an apology and postponed the “official” newsletter or whatever it is I’m doing here for another week. But I’m trying to be more up front about living with chronic illness. Having a very strong ethic against “complaining” has made me feel for a long time like any mention of my issues somehow fell into that category, but the reality is that many of us are living with chronic health issues and we need to normalize talking about them and understanding that people need more flexibility in their work schedules along with basic human needs like proper healthcare.

Our culture teaches us to think of human lives—our own and others—as commodities. It tries to make us believe the lie that we are what we can produce. Or in other words, our fundamental worth as individuals is to be found in our accomplishments. When the truth of the matter is you are valuable just because you exist. Your value is intrinsic. My value is intrinsic.

What’s the point of us? The point is we are, and that is enough. Whether you are chronically ill, mentally ill, or just dragged down by *gestures vaguely everywhere* all this, you are enough. 

Human lives weren’t meant to be maximized and used up, burnt like a candle for the sole benefit of others, discarded when nothing remains but a puddle of wax and a fragment of wick. Our lives were meant to be lived. To be experienced.

There’s no such thing as an ordinary person. Each and every one of you are extraordinary just because you are. This is what it means to bear the image of God. 

It’s both a humbling and a freeing concept. Nothing we can do can add nor subtract from our worthiness. It’s baked in. De facto. Pre-existent. That doesn’t mean that what we do doesn’t matter, it just means that nothing we do can change our worthiness. 

And that bears thinking about. What would you do differently if you knew you were already worthy? Like if you really, really believed it? And how would our world be different if we treated everyone else as though they were worthy too? 


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What I’m Reading this Week

This week I’ve been re-reading the Emily Trilogy by L.M. Montgomary. Her work gives me an appreciation for the beauty of the every day and the unsurpassing magnificence of “ordinary” people. What are you reading this week?