As an artist you may be extraordinary, but morally speaking you’re worthless.

~ one of Picasso’s chicks

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I think about worth pretty consistently. There are many people walking around like they have none. You can tell who these people are by their restlessness and irritability. They yell and pout when things don’t go their way. They try to devalue others by speaking about them or to them poorly. An internal feeling of low-worth manifests itself externally without any gray area: either full-bore arrogance and entitlement or pitiful and annoying people-pleasing.

The former: stubborn and unwilling to adapt.

The latter: slippery and undesirable to grasp.

Sometimes the ones most fearful about their lack of worth, are the ones that stuff their days with so much activity, they don’t have to wonder what it’s all worth.

Last week, we had a meeting at work where everyone talked about something they want to improve on. There were promises of healthier eating and more exercise, of course. There were genuine desires to improve their professional craft. Someone threw in a vow to return all calls in 24 hours. I had forgotten the assignment until I was driving into work that morning. When I got to the office, I started jotting down non-sensical and disjointed thoughts.

We went around the table and then it was my turn. I verbally vomited the mental nausea I’d been fighting in my skull for months: I want to do less. I want to care less. I don’t want my minutes to be measured by dollar signs. My breathing shouldn’t have a monetary value. I want to pursue stupid passions for absolutely no reason except that they bring me creative joy for the moment. And maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will be inspired to take off their price tag, too. Maybe they’ll jump into a puddle with their dog and laugh like they haven’t laughed in years. Or maybe they’ll finally take a nap. Or maybe they’ll enjoy another human for the sake of that human and not because there is anything to gain from them. I don’t want to monetize my existence. I don’t want to monetize my worth.

It is an oddity to feel comfortable enough at my place of employment to say such strange things. It is a blessing to be in a room with people who nod their heads in understanding. It is pure naivety to think I can navigate the world like this, without the worth society wants to put on me. If they think about my worth at all.

The people we pay attention to are the people we are told we should want to become. This is why Jesus is so unpopular. No one wants to be last so they can be first. A leader would never act as a servant. The rich wouldn’t share with the poor, wtf. Last time I checked, this was Americuh! I work for my dollars and maybe you should, too. And by the way, I’m better than you because I have dollars and you don’t and ew stay away, I don’t want to catch your humility and poverty. Where’s my hand sanitizer…

Ever since I was a kid, I distinctly remember wanting to be friends with the kid no one wanted to be friends with. I had friends, I didn’t need more. But I knew they didn’t have any and I wanted to share. Sometimes this was cool. The kid would acclimate to a social life and flutter off to make their own friends. Sometimes the kid was just freakin’ creepy and I’d think to myself, “Gee, this is why you don’t have any friends.”

Other times there’d be a kid who was so displaced that I couldn’t fully appreciate their gift of uniqueness at the time. Like there was a kid that when we would all take turns reading aloud from a book, he’d read with such enthusiasm his voice would fluctuate with the drama in the plot and he’d give characters different voices. The other children in the class would roll their eyes and laugh at him. I personally found it annoying because I wanted him to hurry up with his part so I could read mine. Now that I think about him, I think — that was so cool. He really liked reading. I hope he continued to read like that up to this day. I hope that enthusiasm wasn’t snuffed out of him because his joy for reading couldn’t be converted into a high return investment so he can save for his retirement.

Consistently, I am afraid for people that don’t want to take risks. You know these people, they are the ones that think safety is the ultimate goal. I’m an alcoholic Christian. Man-made safety is the anti-Christ as far as I’m concerned. Finding safety in a bank account, a reputation, a human relationship, in m y s e l f , is a death sentence. My safety comes from knowing that God is radical in ALL things. In His love, patience, forgiveness, kindness — these are offered in a holy helping to even the most unworthy.

I say unworthy but who am I to determine a person’s worth? Just like who are you to determine mine?

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If you took away every label, title, adjective you use to unconsciously place or withdraw value on others (and yourself) what would you be left with?love