Search Blog

Nov 1, 2011

The Measure of a Man

It's been a difficult time this past month. I've had a major surgery which kept me bedridden for days. It was a week before I could even return to work, and only now am I even close to being recovered. During the first few days post-surgery, my fiancĂ© and I decided to end our engagement. She moved out, and I (well, we both I suppose) had to adjust to living alone again. My daughter had her thirteen birthday, and I had promised to celebrate it larger than normal because it’s what our family calls a “milestone” age. The event went wonderfully, but not without some ugly exchanges with her mother and what I interpret as attempts to manipulate the celebration.
The one point of pride, besides my daughters, that remained was my job. Today, however, that died too. I am still employed, and the details are not appropriate to air in public, but I discovered I am far less valued there and was even conspired against. While I was looking out for the interest of the project and its success; others used that desire to their advantage to damage me professionally.
I have taken the day off from work to consider all that has happened. And I find myself in a dark place. I no longer know how to measure myself, how to gauge my value…or whether I have any.
But I fight off the dark thoughts, knowing I will have great material for my next therapy session. And I look for inspiring words and things I can do. I am still planning to serve food to the homeless this weekend. As sorry as I feel for myself, I’m still in better standing than many others. And helping those in need will act to fulfill me.
In light of my questioning my value, I wish to share this poem I found:
   Not - How did he die? But - How did he live?
   Not - What did he gain? But - What did he give?
   These are the things that measure the worth
   Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
   Not - What was his station? But - had he a heart?
   And - How did he play his God-given part?
   Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?
   To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
   Not - What was his church? Not - What was his creed?
   But - Had he befriended those really in need?
   Not - What did the sketch in the newspaper say?
   But - How many were sorry when he passed away?
   These are the things that measure the worth
   Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

These words have helped me to remember that I have value beyond how most of society assess. Even in dark times, I must keep my spirit strong and my character right. I must acknowledge where I’ve done wrong and make amends for such, while still striving to do what I know is proper. And I thank God for my daughter, the incredible relationship we share and the blessing of having her live with me.
I’ve told my girls, the one still in the house as well as the two now living on their own, that stress is not a result of circumstances but rather a result from unmet expectations. I must remember I am not entitled to everything going well for me; I should not expect it. However, I can expect that joy, happiness and fellowship can still exist even when times are tough.
That is where I will set my focus. I will continue to be honest, to be loyal and to be real.

1 comment:

  1. I struggle with the unmet expectations myself. I would love to know how to live without expectation entirely but unfortunately I don't see that happening any time soon. You are very insightful and your words here have encouraged me. It's not about our hopes and dreams, but about the love we give and receive today in the here and now. Life is full of disappointment but we should use it to our advantage and see these dark times as sculpting tools to better equip us for loving others in the future.