Yesterday was one of those days that caught me off guard.
I woke up early yesterday to head to my parish and my pastor asked me to work with some volunteers who came to help. He reminded me that they were MRDD (Mental Retardation and Developmentally Disabled). So I tried to find something that they could do. We moved some wood to the garage and swept the front and backyard.
What really hit me hard was one of the guys. The other two were both really funny and did most of the work. But the third one was around my age. He couldn't do much at all; he was pretty much adult baby. At first I was feeling very sad while looking at him and I thought, "What can he do?" And the response back was, "Who says he has to do anything? He just is."
I place so much value on what I can do, or how much I contribute, or what I have accomplished as if it really matters. I think what hit me so hard about trying to work with him was that reminded me of how limited I have been recently. Since my depression in November there have been many things I can and cannot do. I would sit in my head and think of all the things I could be doing or all things I should have done and I would stress myself out ad infinitum.
But I do not think you have to be depressed to think this way. Usually the second question we ask someone, after their name, is, "and what do you do?" Most people, when talking about someone they will say, "This Bob and he is a lawyer." But our value is not in what we do it is in who we are.
It is a hard lesson to learn because our society tells us the opposite. Our identity is so interconnected with our work that when one does not work they might be looked down upon.
But our faith tells us something different. "We are made in the image and likeness of God." We have value because God has given us value, because we are made to reflect the Divine. According to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, when God says, "I am who am," Aquinas understands that as meaning, "I exists as existence." He talks about how for something to exist is has to have being or it cannot exist. God is being and we share in His being.
We call ourselves human beings. We know intrinsically that we are important because we are human not because of what we can do as a human being. But yet we push forth the lie of "I have value because of what I do." An example of this is when people get paid more money for having more skills than others or people will say how she is a valuable asset to the company, not a valuable person. Few say it verbally but must believe this without knowing. This has begun to effect our children and I myself am a product of this type of mentality. There was a point when a person would learn to become educated and now people learn to get money, to buy things or to feel important. I saw this the other day:
I was blown away by this.
Does no one see how bad this has gotten and is getting? People are becoming more and more Human DOINGS than Human BEINGS.
Do you see yourself as a Human DOING or a Human BEING?
How do you think God sees you?