The litmus test of Worth

By Deborah Ruiz Wall

Life collapses like an accordion once one has reached the phase of nearly bidding goodbye to earthly joys and travails,

and so the outlook of the third age embraces an encompassing view of life, realizing that some of our wants that once defined who we thought we were have lost their appeal.

within the web of relationships that visited our lives shed light onto what we have become or are becoming?

Meaning is something human beings seek — we construct our own world of meaning but what we create may limit or broaden the scope of boundaries. 

Relating is not just a ritual; one has to work at finding the fabric that can be woven to bind diverse threads that create the best blend of character. Our walk needs space and time for us to grow.

We stumble, pick ourselves up, and learn from our follies and mistakes. Emotion becomes deeply ingrained in our memory like music that penetrates our life experience.

Perhaps our own sense of insecurity at any moment may colour our perception of the core of self-worth and our judgment of the worth of others who orbit our lives.

The storms and cyclones that befall our hearts sometimes blind us from recognising human frailty, even our own.

So we judge too harshly perhaps because we have been let down badly and are still reeling from it. Thus we nail our perception of travesty as the litmus test of worth.

What in the range of human behaviour is mortally wounding? What measure do we use to judge the worth of life? Is it the transgression of people who we love or who are supposed to love us? We can elect to sink in the quagmire of defining the worth of self from travesty to make sense of an unfolding future.

Alas this posture will only make us sad, untrusting and lonely. Elevating ourselves as the judge of the worth of worthiness is a conflicted path.

What is worthy?

Our life's work? Success? Reputation? The image we construct that we want people to see?

The future calls but not on a small footprint, for smallness does not provide much breathing space but suffocates the flowering bud that still needs nurturing, that is longing to find the glow of light that will bring potential to fruition. 

We can transform challenge as an opportunity for re-creating ourselves: a union of opposites, a hybrid blending of dissimilar traits perhaps.

But we are not to know what lies ahead. The music of life keeps playing beyond our comprehension. We simply make an effort to follow the tune meant for us alone and to acknowledge, honour and respect the cloak of the mystery of creation.

If we were to believe in a God of compassion, we would not be too hard on ourselves, or on our expectations of perfection, for our calling is not to judge absolutely, but to learn, to grow, to become.

Embracing life with faith and love and compassion makes for a more joyous world.

Deborah Ruiz Wall, OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia), is a member of ICA Australia

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