“Arwen: Do you remember when we first met?
Aragorn: I thought I had wandered into a dream.
Arwen: Long years have passed. You did not have the cares you carry now. Do you remember what I told you?
Aragorn: You said you’d bind yourself to me, forsaking the immortal life of your people.
Arwen: And to that I hold. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” ~ LoTR
Two questions, often asked: What are we really worth? What do we have to offer another?
In this world, and for many of us (if not all), the answers are measured by what should not come first, yet often does. The most beautiful heart, the most beautiful smile, the dearest, deepest, most beautiful eyes…the sound of a beloved voice…a giggle…the way another fits in our arms and we fit in theirs…the simple joy of a complete sharing…a dance of two souls meant to be dancing together…
…none of these things pay the bills, build a house, buy a car, feed a family, or book a trip.
So really, how much are they worth in the end?
How ironic that the most valuable ‘currency’ we have, the only one we ever truly possess and can offer someone, should have so little value at times in a world that demands coins, paper bills and plastic cards.
How ironic that the rarest and most beautiful things we absolutely must have to create a life worth living are not a ‘currency’ that can actually pay for that life.
And what we’re worth, what we have to offer, is not only measured this way when it comes to love, but in everything else. It is not our true character or unique talent that usually gets us a job, but keywords on a piece of paper in the proper order. Or else connections. And yes, some of us are lucky and follow a path that secures us a solid career. But for the rest, it’s difficult to explain or overcome a pause, an inconsistency. Few care who we are and what we can give. It’s mostly about how well we fit a certain mold, and how quickly the fit can be found in a few seconds by a machine, or by a stranger’s eyes glancing at a piece of paper.
So then, what do we answer? What good is anything intangible in a world of very tangible transactions we can not escape? It would seem we have to surrender, because we must pay so many tolls on all the bridges to be crossed every day. And none will accept feelings, or beauty, or depth, or connection, or joy. Only cash or credit.
Poverty and strained circumstances are terrible things. We can sail through them on a song, but not for long. Spirits are eventually crushed, voices silenced, hearts darkened by frustration. It’s true is it not?
Perhaps somehow, there is a way across the irony and the surrender. Perhaps if we dare look for a moment at who we are and what we have to offer that makes up our truest, most precious gift in the eyes of another, our spirit will be made a little lighter…light enough to lift a wing, and then the other, and then stand for a moment. It might not soar immediately, but nurtured by what it needs it will eventually soar, especially when it does not have to do all the work alone.
What we are worth and what we have to offer someone else truly worth having in our life is not in our bank account, or resume…it’s not in the diplomas on the wall or the awards on the mantelpiece. The details of our beauty, our talent, our unique experience of life… and the reasons why another would love us with all our imperfections may not be of that much help in terms of what we can provide, but they mean everything in terms of who we are and what we have to give.
None of us would choose to struggle or like it very much. We all put pressure on others and ourselves, in spite of what matters most, because it can’t be helped…we have to pay tolls on all the bridges we cross every day. But as difficult as it may be for a while, no payment in hand or crossing secured is worth more than seeing the most beautiful heart, the most beautiful smile, the dearest, deepest, most beautiful eyes on the other side. Nothing is worth more than knowing that once we can cross, it will be towards the sound of a beloved voice…a giggle…towards the way another fits in our arms and we fit in theirs…towards the simple joy of a complete sharing…towards that dance of two souls meant to be dancing together.
We hear it often…”it’s only money”. But it’s not just money. The struggle to finance and sustain a life in the world takes a heavy toll in every way, creating so much stress that it often overwhelms us completely.
And yet…it is also, only money, and surely, as long as we draw breath, we can not let it completely break us.
I’m thinking that even though we may not all have an immortal life to forsake as a measure of our worth and how much we love someone else, we all have many gifts that we truly own and can truly share. And if this life is such that it will not allow us to focus only on these gifts, then at least let us focus on them as much as we focus on what it takes to create a context in which they can thrive.