Thursday, October 7, 2010

Value of a Person/Redemption

In the last several days I have spent a lot of time thinking about what determines our value as human beings.  Of course you all know why I have been thinking about this – what I wrote about on Saturday.

When you think about it, we are all just animals.  If you look at things from a purely animalistic perspective there is no value to us.  We are just a bunch of flesh, bones and hair.  I don’t know but I would guess we would be worth a couple hundred thousand calories to a large predator like a great white shark that might eat us.  Is that our value?  In a very literal sense yes – but in the greater sense of what we think of ourselves – no it is not our value.

The difficult thing about determining our value is that we humans live in communities.  We aren’t like a great white shark who swims the ocean alone – we live together and depend upon one another.  Our value comes to depend upon what we do for others and what we take from others.  Essentially it comes down to a question of have we done more good or more bad with our lives.  How do we balance the good we do versus the bad we do or have done.  Is that the best way to determine our value?

I guess the easy answer is we could say that we could leave it up to god to determine.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessary provide us with the validation or answers we want.  The simplest choice is of course just to ignore the question and not think about it.  But when you are questioning yourself and the actions your have taken it is a very hard questions to ignore.

What plagues my mind so much these days is a simple question.  It is - are all the works of good I have done in my life over thrown by the feelings of pain and hurt that I have caused people?  I will admit with rare exception all the feelings of pain and hurt I have caused people have been around dating and relationships.  I have let people down and left them feeling hurt and betrayed.  I have acted like the typical ass of a man who doesn't understand the beauty and love that his partner has given him.  Instead I have chosen to act selfish and arrogant.  Always wanting more without giving back to the one who loves me.

What particularly haunts me is that I have caused hurt to people who I love.  People who I really, really care about and I have left them feeling like garbage.  I know without a doubt I have done a great misdeed to  Shelly and her family.  How do I deal with that and change that?  How do I attempt to make it right?  It is simple to redeem ourselves in terms of our own thoughts, but how do you redeem yourself in the eyes of the people you hurt?  What if the hurt is bad enough that they will never offer you a chance at redemption?

In my head I can list all the good things I have done throughout my life.  In my opinion it would be a very long list.  My opinion of the things I have done that are bad isn’t nearly as long as the list of the things I have that are good.  Now that is my subjective opinion and it might be seen from a different perspective by others.  Even despite this thought it comes down to this….  It doesn’t matter a bit what I think.  What matters are the thoughts of the people who I have hurt.  How do I change them?

This is a difficult subject on which to ruminate and it occupies many hours of my thoughts while I lay awake in bed at night.  Can I redeem my value as a person within the confines of people who I really care about?  I do hope someday that they give me a chance.

Tomorrow is the first D-Day for Zack with school.  He will bring home his mid-term grades for the first trimester.  The first part of the school year started off rocky as I gave him a lot of leeway to do things his way.  That came to a screeching halt in the middle of September when he failed a test in Language Arts.  Now we sit night-after-night at the kitchen table going through his homework.  I have been ruthless in terms of making him do it himself and do it neatly.  Earlier this week I made him write a response for his Language Arts Class 4 times until he got it neat enough, had all the words spelled correctly and had the punctuation and capitalization correct.  He especially hates it because I don’t tell him exactly what is wrong – I give me a few clues and then say “fix it.”  Needless to say he was NOT happy with me, but it is my job as the parent to make him do that.  I won’t necessarily be his best friend but he will thank me later!

It’s hard to believe another week has almost flown by and tomorrow will be Friday.  I am looking forward to the weekend as I have some major plans - I am going to shock a few people. :-)     (I’ll write about that on either Saturday or Sunday.)

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

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