Your Value is Always Yours
I spent Shabbos in Monsey with a friend's sister and her family. On their fridge, they had posted the following story: A man began a lecture by holding up a $20 bill. He asked for people in the audience to raise their hands if they would like to receive it. Hands shot up in all directions. He then crumpled the $20 bill up in his fist. He asked the audience once again who would like it. Hand still shot up from all over. He then took the $20 bill, dropped it on the floor, and stomped on it, grinding it under his shoe. He once again asked those in the audience who would like it. Still, hands went up amongst those in attendance The speaker then said to the audience that the reason that they still wanted the $20 bill, even though it had been dirtied and crumpled was because its worth was not diminished despite what had happened to it. He then explained that, like the $20 bill, our value can never diminish. No matter what choices we make, good or bad, we still have value. No matter what we do with ourselves, our inherent worth never subsides. As we go through life, we need to remember this. I was really moved by this story, for many reasons. First of all, it really made me think about my life and how there is always the potential, no matter what mistakes or bad decisions one makes, to turn yourself around. The person you are at the core never changes, and your value is never given away. Each human being has so much to offer, and we shouldn't give up on ourselves or anyone else. The family I was staying with really embodied this. I was inspired by the example they set. I had only met them once before, and they opened their home to me and made me feel incredibly welcome and at home. In speaking with them, on more than one occasion, they showed me how accepting they are of others, and how they really think about what they are doing. Religiously, they are definitely to the right of me. In such situations, I often feel a bit intimidated and out of place. At no time did they make me feel like that. They listened to what I had to say, we had several very interesting conversations. Never did I feel judged by them, nor did they make it seem like where I was coming from was anything unusual. I was also touched by the fact that they really were so authentic. Their religious decisions and dedicated came from a place of wanting to serve Hashem in the best way they could. There was no preaching, no looking down upon others. And there was real humility - they admitted that there were many things they didn't know. Their lives and the care they showed others were very genuine. It was really touching. They definitely made me, and I am sure they make others, feel their value, as in the story above. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to spend Shabbos with them, and I hpoe to do so again in the future.