“It was a different kind of impoverishment for men who had found fellowship in commiseration. Their ‘living thing’ with all its quirks, foibles and peculiarities had become a predictable commodity.”
Fred Smith — “A Living Thing“
Dear God, I read Fred Smith’s weekly blog this week, and, as is not unusual, I found something in it that I want to chew on with you for a while. It revolves around this quote I pulled from it and pasted above.
It’s interesting to try and ascribe a rationale for what makes something precious to me. Why do I like what I like, love what I love, and do what I do?
I’ve often wondered what it is about the knowledge that there are two individuals out there who are my children, and that knowledge makes them mean something different to me than anyone else in the world. When they were little and performing on stage, my eye almost never left them. Not because they were that different than the other children (although, of course I thought they were the most talented) but because they were mine. I loved them and I wanted them to see what they had to show the world. I think when it comes down to it, there is something in my brain that triggers and says this person is special to me. They are my child. They are my responsibility. I’m sure you buried that down somewhere deep in me–in all of us. And like the Jaguar owners in Fred’s piece, we get to sit around the Sunday school classes, or workplaces, or dinners with friends and commiserate on how hard parenting is.
There are other things that are precious to me. My wife tops the list. In fact, she is in a special place that even my children don’t quite sit in. I chose her (as she chose me). While my children will always be my children, even if we are out of relationship, my wife and I continue to be married by choice. I’ve had the opportunity to watch her perform on stage as well, and I can say that my eye followed her the whole time too, even though she was pretty much used as a prop on the stage. But what makes her precious? I met her when she was 18 and I was 19. We fell in love (only you know why we had a special chemistry that caused that to happen), but we’ve both changed a lot since then. Staying in love and staying together means rooting for the other, even at our own expense. It means giving the other space to struggle and grow. It means dedication.
I don’t know. I don’t know that I’m really coming up with an answer to my question, “What makes something precious?” When I list the things that are precious to me, my first thoughts go to my wife and children, but then they go to my job and the work you’ve given me to do. They go really to my own life and trying to make sure that, as small and insignificant as it might be in the grand scheme of things, it is used to maximize your will being done and your kingdom coming to earth as it is in heaven. And in the spirit of Fred’s piece about his dad and the Jaguar, I have to admit that the little car I bought a year and a half ago is my most precious material possession. I love that little thing. Not because I get to enjoy it with others. In fact, I enjoy it the most when I am by myself, top down, music loud, and the RPMs between 4,000 and 6,000. But I love that car.
Father, I have a lot of work to do today. Help me to identify what is important to do next. Sometimes it will be the thing that is precious. Sometimes it will be the thing that it hard and not enjoyable. And help me to not put any of those precious things before my love and devotion to you.
In Jesus’ name I pray,