Wednesday, August 08, 2007

what value a life?

It's been a cry day. Not just because the sky has wept big, beautiful tears of life, but because my eyes won't stop leaking all over my face.

It's silly really. I'm crying because I'm upset, and then I'm crying because I'm upset that I'm upset because I don't think I have a right to be upset. If that makes sense.

Church is supposed to be the bastion of love, peace, joy and harmony. Right? But I feel all jumbled and grumpy about it. I pour hours of voluntary time into church activities. I realise I'm supposed to pour cheerfully, and most of the time I do. But sometimes I feel disgruntled. Disgruntled because in all the pouring out of my heart and soul, I receive little recognition. My precious offerings trampled into the mire of being taken for granted. I feel unappreciated and used.

Lest my pity party grows too large I will admit that if I feel this way, there must be an element of my offering that is unreceived by God. It's quite possible that I keep back a small portion for myself, hoping that some kudos will return to me. I forget that it's really all about God and his glory. I'd like some glory for myself please... and so my mournfulness stems from the lack of glory coming my way.

It's all rather confusing. I'm crying because I feel used, abused and oh so weary. Yet I'm also crying because God deserves my whole offering, not just part of it, and so I weep over my hard, selfish heart.

I think this feeling of being undervalued reaches deep into my soul, because everything I looked at today started me off crying again. I walked past the Country Women's Association shop. An old lady sat dolefully behind the counter waiting for someone, anyone, to step inside and fall in love with the country women's home made baking and hand knitted cardigans. It struck me that in not too many years these country women will have died, and perhaps their craft will die with them. And we'll all rush past to the chiq, modern stores to buy almond friands and mini cheesecakes, designer jumpers and merino socks without even realising these women have gone. A loss to society and we won't even notice. Good, honest, hardworking women undervalued in a society that's lost touch with the earth and it's hard earned produce.

At the traffic lights I spied out an old man. Small, wizened, hair sticking out in every direction - rumpled and tiny. Yet there he stood neatly kitted out in his khaki suit, mustard sweater and brown leather shoes, in his best dress for errands around town. Precious, well meaning, but somehow insignificant in a fast paced world of business and commerce. Another life undervalued.

I might feel hard done by at church. Those feelings might even be valid (and I think to a degree they are), but I'm not the only one who is undervalued and unappreciated. The earth is littered with seeming insignificance that is, in reality, precious, of inestimable worth, to be cherished and treasured.

I know I value myself highly - that's half my problem - but how much do I value others? How am I doing at cherishing and treasuring the lives of those around me?

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At 7:48 am, August 09, 2007, Blogger Mike S said...

Perhaps when you reach "Geezer" status like some of us, you'll see the seeds you plant now blossom into bountiful returns. I know I feel that way every time I see something I did years ago become appreciated all these decades later. Works in investments in people, institutions, and more tangable things.

At 7:56 am, August 09, 2007, Blogger Pam said...

Sometimes I think when we feel like we're being taken for granted we are better able to see and appreciate others. The tender heart and the tears speak volumes for how you're cherishing and treasuring.

The world is sad. When we stop and look at it, really see it, it hurts. And remember, your tender heart and your tears are very precious to God!

At 12:17 pm, August 09, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

I love how you tend to turn things around and use your feelings to trigger a check of how you treat others. I'm learning from you :)
I'm sorry for your hurt. Wish that I could fix things. I love you!

At 3:31 am, August 12, 2007, Blogger Angela said...

blech. i'm sorry you had a cry day. i love the man in the mustard sweater, though, and may i say (if it's not too presumptuous of me) that i think you should go easier on your self. it sounds like you are a real gift to your church and it's hard to be unappreciated, even if that's not what your goal is.

At 2:34 am, August 13, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

I think you're on the right track, in trying to see what's real from both perspectives. I also agree with Angela. Those other fallen creatures at your church aren't supposed to be perfect, but something's wrong if they never show you appreciation.

At 12:57 am, August 14, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

Touching post, one that has been simmering around in my mind for days now, Cecily.

Not much to add to the comments here except to say that oftentimes people just don't think to tell the person how much they appreciate them, though they mention it to others. It's just thoughtlessness on their part, to not relay their feelings to you. I'm sure there are people in your church who would feel terrible to discover that their silence has caused you pain, and they'd assure you beyond doubt how grateful they remain for all the work you do, and with such a loving heart.

Thanks for the honest, sensitive posts you write. They make me think, and encourage me at the same time.


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