Abundance and Value

There are truths about life I don’t particularly like.

I don’t like disease and decay are a part of living – if you live long enough – and death if you don’t. It’s not fun or fair or even defensible. But it is true nonetheless.

One truth I particularly hate is this: People value you only in what you provide for them. If you provide them a positive, joyful experience, they will value you because of that experience. They may not value you once that experience, or your ability to provide it, wains.

Duty or obligation may keep a child visiting the nursing home. Fear of loss of even the little bit a failing spouse can provide, believing the alternative is no one, can cause even the abused to stay. Your job is only secure as long as you provide something more valuable to your employer.

Friends are there for us until the price of friendship is higher than its return. Until we become an emotional “money pit” where walking away yields the higher reward.

Honor used to keep people committed. Paying the toll. It was an artificial social constraint that is less seen today. In my opinion, it is good we no longer see obligation as the reason to stay in a relationship, to give to others, to spend our woefully limited emotional and chronological capital on others.

In the midst of this truth, we must ask: What can we depend on to have a personal sense of worth?

The only way to thrive, to live or even survive in the face of this truth is to value yourself. What you give yourself is more important by far than anything you can give to others.

A sense of self that says “I am a person who values me, who values the me I am” overcomes the sense of self-doubt and valuelessness others might project.

I give to others of my time, my emotions, my love not simply because of what they might give to me in return, but because it is my morality to love. I value myself enough to spend my capital on others, as well as on myself, because that is the kind of person I choose to be.

They may not “deserve” it. They may not have “earned” it. I give to them even when it is unrequited because I am that person. The person I am dictates how I live, how I love.

Are there situations, relationships, where I hope for a return? Certainly. There is a level of love I reserve for reciprocation. If it is not, then I may count the cost too high and choose to end the relationship rather than continue the pain of unrequited love.

But those relationships are rare, reserved only for the most intimate.

Loving freely is the mark of Abundance in your life. You are secure in yourself and who you are, knowing someone else’s response to you is not an indication of your value.

Fear robs us of Abundance. Fear someone will “see” us. Fear someone will “reject” us. Fear someone will not “value” us. Fear of not looking “cool” to others.

When we value ourselves, there is no place for fear to assail. We are content and proud of who we are. We love the person we have chosen to be.

The key to valuing yourself is to identify and then live according to your deepest held values. It causes us to respect ourselves.

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Worship: Chapter 1 – The Invisible Girl

This is a piece I started a while ago. I am going to be writing another chapter this week. Let me know your feedback. Also, if you would like to be a “beta reader” and give me pre-publish input, comment below and I’ll send you a draft to eviscerate.

Fictional Kevin

And G-d said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” 

– Genesis 22:2

Beginnings are important.

While it is often said and accepted as fact one can begin again, it is a lie. A lie clad in white but a lie none the less. There is one beginning of a thing. There is one beginning of a person. There is one beginning of a story. And the beginning of a thing or a story or a person will determine its course – and its demise. The beginning of this thing and this person and this story were all the same: 32 years ago Abigail Upton was born.

Everyone is born into a different circumstance. Abigail, unfortunately, was born into invisibility.

She…

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Rational

Woman thinking rationally

It is rational to love first, everyone you meet.

It is rational to listen and actually hear someone’s heart and words.

It is rational to accept people exactly where they are.

Most would generally agree.

But…

It is rational to love yourself, no matter what.

It is rational to listen and actually hear your own heart and words.

It is rational to accept yourself exactly where you are.

I wonder how many agree?


Worship: Chapter 1 – The Invisible Girl

And G-d said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” 

– Genesis 22:2

Beginnings are important.

While it is often said and accepted as fact one can begin again, it is a lie. A lie clad in white but a lie none the less. There is one beginning of a thing. There is one beginning of a person. There is one beginning of a story. And the beginning of a thing or a story or a person will determine its course – and its demise. The beginning of this thing and this person and this story were all the same: 32 years ago Abigail Upton was born.

Everyone is born into a different circumstance. Abigail, unfortunately, was born into invisibility.

She first was invisible to her parents. They are most certainly not important and will get only this one mention. They fed her, clothed her, packed her off to school and grandma’s, but they never saw her. She was a pet. Less than. Not worth a smile or a pat.

Abigail would never know when, years later, during the divorce, they had argued over her. Not who would get her, but who had to take her.

She was invisible in grade school. Long, unkept, mousy brown hair covered her thick glasses and dark eyes. Kickball meant “oh, yeah, I guess we’ll take her then” – last, until the pudgy kid with the club foot moved to town. She wasn’t shy, per se, but there were so many who could talk better, think better. She wore unaffecting clothes with an unaffecting attitude.

Invisible.

Once, in her fourth grade year, she tried to become visible. Her English teacher asked if anyone knew David from the Bible. Abigail had just read the story a week before. Now, she thought, was her chance. She knew all the details. She could share something she knew. Everyone would be impressed. They would see her.

“He was King Saul’s armor bearer and…”

She was interrupted by her teacher’s laughter “No, Abby, David was the King and he slew the giant Goliath.” Abigail knew this, of course, and would have added the part about Goliath if she hadn’t been interrupted, but now she was squashed back in fear.

Everyone was looking at her. She looked at her desk, her hair making a little room, a barrier between her and The Others. Abigail willed back her tears.

Inside her mind, she huddled. Trying to be invisible again. Thinking thoughts she would never say, “No, ma’am, Saul was king when David slew Goliath.” At that moment she hated Mrs. Rose. She hated the other students. Most of all, she hated herself.

Of course nine year old Abigail couldn’t know her teacher was drunk and, in fact, had not been sober a day in the last 10 years. Abigail couldn’t know the Superintendent had left Mrs. Rose on for the last couple years as an act of mercy. Abigail just knew shame.

Abigail decided in that precise moment being invisible was better than this. Ever again.

High school was worse. There were boys. Girls were supposed to like boys. Girls were supposed to do things to be noticed by boys.

Abigail was never noticed. By anyone. Especially not boys. One would be wrong to think Abigail was made fun of. To be teased, someone has to see you. No one saw her. She floated down the halls of her school, head down, feet shuffling and no one noticed.

Abigail felt. Deeply. She read and became Lizzie Bennett, Nancy Drew. She was Anne of Green Gables – ambitious and competitive and smart. She had the wit and determination of Jo March.

She wanted everyone to know her, to see her. To see the bright, ambitious, determined girl she was inside. She had passion. She knew she could change the world.

If only.

She loved. Deeply. She hadn’t found “him” yet, or, more exactly, he hadn’t found her, but she knew when it happened she would give all her heart. He would see her as she saw herself. He would look beyond her exterior. He would see her, the real her.

At night, when her hormones raged, Abigail would touch herself and think of Him. She could feel his gentle touch, the love in his fingers as he caressed her. He would say to her the things she longed to hear. He would cherish her.

She waited, invisible, for him. The One who would see her.

It happened, or so Abigail thought, the final semester of her senior year. She was standing at her locker, collecting her books for class. The hustle of hundreds of students passed by behind.

“Abby?”

At first, it didn’t register. She continued fiddling with her books for her first two classes.

He tapped her shoulder. “Abby?”

She turned. It was Mark Thompson. He was wearing his usual uniform: Wranglers, plaid flannel shirt, cowboy boots and a John Deer hat. Even with the boots, he was the same 5′ 6″ as Abigail.

Mark was a cruel young man. One of his happiest activities was to go out to his father’s barn and intentionally maim the feral cats with his .22 pistol. He found other’s misfortune amusing. Empathy was nowhere to be found in his short, stocky frame.

Of course Abigail didn’t know this. She didn’t really know Mark. They had Algebra together and all she really knew was he didn’t seem to be doing well with it. She did know he was a boy, and he was talking to her.

As soon as she met his gaze, she immediately looked down. Her voice was tight “hi.”

“Whatcha doin’?” He sounded nervous. Of course Abigail didn’t notice, she was mortified. She wanted to crawl into her locker.

“Just…getting my books.”

“Yeah, I gotta get to class too. I was wonderin’…would you like to go out Saturday? I could pick you up and we could go to that ‘Fallen’ movie. I heard it’s pretty good.”

“Oh, um, sorry, I have plans.” She turned on her heels and used a much quicker shuffle to take her to Social Studies. She heard him mutter “OK” behind her.

Abigail’s heart was racing. She was terrified. She was excited. She wanted to hide and she wanted to dance. A boy just asked her out. On a proper date.

Wait, thought Abigail, she had just turned him down. “What have I done? What if he, Mark, was Him? I have blown it. I and my insecurities and my fear and my anxiety have left me alone forever.”

She pushed back her tears as she slid into her desk.