First, a couple of pet peeves. But hopefully I can wrap it back around to value. I have had two experiences in the last few years like this, and it irritates me. One day while at Costco, I found tennis shoes for my daughters who were in need of new shoes. I took a picture and sent it to them, they said they liked them, and I pulled out the sizes needed. I checked to make sure both shoes were in both boxes but didn’t pull them out and really look over them, and continued shopping. When I got home, and my daughter’s pulled the shoes out, one pair of shoes had grass stains on the souls, bottoms and sides. I was irritated, as I expected to buy brand new shoes and I got a pair that had obviously been worn before. When they were returned, it was evident no one had checked them before placing them back out on the floor.

Yesterday I went to Cabela’s to purchase a new vacuum sealer. We had a cheap vacuum sealer that never seemed to work right, and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a more expensive midrange commercial grade sealer. I got home and was so excited to try it out. I noticed the tape on the box tabs had been cut but thought maybe someone had just wanted to look at it. As I was pulling it out of the bag, I could tell that it had been used. I decided to reserve judgement, maybe they had just returned it because they didn’t want it. I opened the tray where the 20 feet of free bags was supposed to be and there were no bags. Cabela’s is 80 miles away from my home. I was extremely frustrated. I did not have any extra bags here, so I had to drive 20 miles to a different store to buy bags to see if it actually worked, even though it was my first inclination to drive the 160-mile round trip back to Cabela’s, give them a piece of my mind, and exchange for a new one. I got the bags, tried out the machine, it worked perfectly, and I decided it was fine, mostly because of the price of gas just to get an exchanged unit.

Both of these items lost value in my mind before I even tried using them, simply because I had thought I was purchasing brand new items, not used items that had just been returned, not checked, and placed back on the floor to resale. It is frustrating, especially when the one item was several hundred dollars, to end up with something that has already been used. Value is an interesting concept. Just as the items I bought lost value because of the condition they were in when I thought I was getting something new. Other items increase in value as they age. I don’t drink alcohol, but I understand that wine becomes better with age. The value of art increases as time goes on, at least for a well-known artist, and some artists don’t become famous until well after their deaths. I love old cars. It’s funny, a vehicle that was mass produced in its day, easy to come by and inexpensive, as time goes on and they become rarer, they become more valuable.

“Things” have different values, and the values change over time. But “things,” regardless of how much we paid for them, or how much abstract value is placed on them by people, in the end, aren’t really worth much. “Things” can be replaced. So, what maintains its value all through time? People, human beings. Every life is valuable, and every life is important. The value of human life is more valuable than any “thing” or possession that we could ever have. It’s interesting as well, that as we age, in a lot of cases, we can also become more valuable, not that any human life is more important than any other, but that the knowledge we gain, and the perspective we attain becomes valuable to the rising generation, if they are willing to listen. But regardless of age, every human being is valuable, and the possibilities of a single human life are limitless, even those lives that we know ahead of time aren’t going to be perfect or easy. I am grateful for my parents, my siblings, my husband and his family, and for my children. Grateful that each person along the way saw the value of human life, saw the potential, and desired to nurture each one of us and assist us on our journey through this life. I am grateful for the numerous examples of people who are raising kids who have physical, mental and emotional disorders that prevent them from doing all the things “normal” kids do, but who have never given up, and who show a Christ-like love for those children, they are great examples to me.

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