is it worth it?

i feel like i've been asking this question a lot recently. and i'm not even sure that i really know what both of those pronouns are referring to. but i don't have to know exactly i don't think. its variations are there too. will it be worth it? what is even really worth it ultimately?

"what can we carry, what will stay with us
what will shine like gold when the story’s told
some things will tarry, some will return to dust
there are things we can and things we cannot keep"

i guess you start asking that question when things get hard in life, when the choices you've made or the choices made to you press things, when things get pushed enough to expose all the other lackings that you were able to get by with before, when things start falling away, when the cost begins to rise. and you realize that as there is so much you cannot keep, you wonder what even you really can. at best only for so long. and it makes letting go that much harder.

it makes risk a much more difficult thing.

risk to commit.
risk to give.
risk to love.
risk to let go.
risk to hope.
risk to lose.

i look at all the books on my shelf. i look at my new phone or any of the other gadgets around the room. i look at photos of places and people far away and long past. i look at the music that is almost a part of my emotions now. i look at my bank statement. i look at my wish list. i look at my house. and none of it really means anything. what is it all really worth? what have i chosen to surround myself with if it doesn't really matter anyway? it's all trivial. no. none of it is worth it.

and then i look into the disabled veteran's tired eyes as he laughs at his own joke. i look at grandma jane trying to raise her three grandkids while her son is left unable to throw the ball with his son. i see the eyes of the guy across the table and coffee cup from me, telling me what God has been saying to him. i see little bradley so excited to tell me about the alien dna he found outside his school. i see the prayer of tears in another. i see a girl's excitement at finding purpose. i see in one a flash of hope that life is maybe more than all the cruelty and loss and loneliness.

and i remember,

my life is not my own.

and i am not the one to give it worth--nor is anyone else who i might look for affirmation from. my worth is not rooted in this place, in these circumstances, in what i do and who loves me or doesn't. because the life i hold has no worth of itself, not from what i can grasp.

but just one of those sets of eyes would be worth it, and right now i can see so many. those are the eyes i need to see. because you can't see your own--they can't tell you anything you didn't already know. and closing them won't help. no. see those eyes out there. go and find them. for such is the kingdom of God, which when true is always worth it.


  1. Luke,

    It seems this idea is bouncing around our generation. And I think that ultimately, that is good. Not easy. But good. And even though it doesn't change the frustration and heaviness and maybe even despair these ideas cause, it can be strangely comforting to know that others are experiencing the same thoughts. At least it is to me.

    Also, I really hope I get to road trip it with you.

    Finally, I have to confess that when I first saw the title of this post, I thought of Missy Elliot's song...which isn't really relevant except it is kind of hilarious to read such a serious post with that song in mind. But again, maybe that's just me. haha. Leave it to the Topekan...

  2. luke luke luke...you are infamous for making me teary in public places here in nicaragua. thank you brother. i needed to read that so much today.

    um and i love it that missy elliot was what came to mind with sara...and i got a fun flashback of dancing to this missy song on a drive from manhattan to topeka in her car.

  3. haha... now missy elliot's in my head too...

    nice post luke...