The Weight of Life Itself
I am the most uninteresting of people. There is nothing extraordinary about me — I am not brilliant, I am not beautiful, I am not talented — nothing I do or say has any value. In the world’s eyes, I wouldn’t be worth a dime.
There was a time in my life when that was utterly overwhelming, and my internal dialogue was not much different from the above. I did not have the ability to differentiate between the perceived value I had assigned myself and the genuine worth that I knew, subconsciously, I had.
I did not once consider, during that time, that my perception of life was faulty. I knew it was flawed, for sure, but I could never bring myself to believe life was so wholly bad, even if I did believe I was. I felt burdened by the weight of my own humanity and the weight of living an entire lifetime. I felt pressure — either I would live perfectly or I could not at all.
I was angry at my existence, at my unimportance, but mostly I was angry at God. Why had he given me the burden of humanity and of life when it was the last thing that I wanted?
But then I realized that if I carried on thinking the way I had and let the darkness take me where I could not come back from, I would cease to have the potential to be all of the things I was terrified I would never be.
I was hard-pressed on every side, broken, and unsure, and it led me to the brink of my destruction. How selfish I was, thinking my life so invaluable to those around me that I could be the one to take it away.
I had thought about death before as a permanent state of blessing. To live is Christ, to die is gain, right? Eternity in heaven with my creator. But never before had I thought about life on this earth and its impermanence as a blessing that I needed to be grateful for.
If I took my life, my father would never get to walk me down the aisle, my friends would never have someone to talk to in their darkest moments, and my children would never have a mother if I could not find value in my life. I would never experience pure joy and elation and reconciliation with past hurts. Nothing would happen again if I ceased to exist.
As the weight of my humanity closed in all around me — surrounded on every side by darkness — there was barely a pinprick of light to be seen. But that light began to grow when I realized the impossibility of my situation. I had to live, because there ultimately is no choice but to. A disregard for the life I had was a disregard for the love of those who care for me.
But mostly, a disregard for my life is a disregard for the care that was put into creating me by my heavenly Father. I was spitting on the image of my creator that I was lucky enough to resemble. I was not an ordinary person, I was not doomed to my humanity anymore. I was blessed by it.
I began to find the beautiful things in life beautiful because I was designed to do so by God. I was made in his image to reflect his beauty to the rest of the world. I could no longer disregard the love I had been given or the weight my life held in the scheme of the universe.
C.S Lewis once said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” Where once I felt small, I now fell to my knees in recognition of the fact that God created me as an immortal being and as a believer in Christ, I would enjoy eternity in His presence.
I am a “masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which [God] prepared in advance for me to do” (Eph. 2:10), and I am no longer concerned about my brilliance, my beauty, or my talent — or even my lack thereof. Rather, I am concerned with every person coming to understand what I did — the essential recognition of intrinsic human dignity, and the image of God bestowed upon his beloved creation.
No person will ever be insignificant in the eyes of the creator who made them. No life ceases to have meaning even when the person it has been bestowed upon decides they do not want it. We may be burdened with humanity, with the weight of life and the weight of glory, but what a glorious burden it is to bear if we bear it in Christ’s name.
“For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain,” but I am not dead yet. I will not waste the opportunity God has given me to live my life and live it to the full, giving him honor and glory for the masterpiece he has made me. Now I can be grateful for the blessing of life, having found my one and only purpose in doing what he prepared me to do — whether or not I understand it.
I am blessed with my life here on earth and with the fact that ultimately, this earth is not my home nor is this current state of existence final. I know and love the life I have been commanded to live. What once was engulfed in darkness is now covered in radiant and redemptive light. My intrinsic value as a human existed before I acknowledged its existence and its reality will not cease to be true if I decide I do not like it. So until the day I get to join my heavenly Father, I can remember that my significance is not dependent on me, but entirely on the One who decided my life was worth creating in the first place.