There was once a family, not long ago, living in a very close knit community. This family was from the most prestigious and kindhearted in town. They were the role model for so many. They defined what it means to have a truly beautiful and harmonious home. The parents had that awesome blend of self respect, yet at the same time, were so giving and nurturing.
It happened on a bright Sunday morning. A morning that will be etched in the memories of all the children. Suddenly, without any warning, the beautiful mother collapsed on the floor. Paramedics were immediately called and tried resuscitating her lifeless body. Despite their many attempts, with beads of sweat pouring down their face, mixed with the hot tears from their eyes, they were forced to surrender to the horrible truth. It was over and there was nothing they can do.
The funeral was the most heart breaking scene. Watching the crying young and innocent orphans, was enough to melt the toughest of hearts. Somehow, life went on and slowly but surely the family got back to a semi normal state. The oldest daughter, took it upon herself to fill in that deep void and worked tirelessly to to do all her mother’s chores while trying to be a sister as well. Being a “mother” and a sibling at the same time was enormously difficult, yet she pushed herself and somehow managed to do it all.
Many months later, the family was preparing to do a beautiful memorial in honor of their mother. It was to take place on the first anniversary of her passing. Everyone chipped in to make this a truly memorable event. They wanted to honor their mother with the respect that she truly deserved.
The day before the anniversary, a ten year old sibling had an idea. She wanted to repay her older sister for all that she has done for them. She wanted to buy her a beautiful ring and present it to her at the event. She went through her drawers and collected all the money she owned. She managed to put together $40 and clutching it tightly, she secretly left the house and entered the nearby jewelry store. With a beaming face, she entered the store and picked out the most magnificent ring. In her innocence, she handed over the forty dollars and asked the jeweler for the ring.
Having been in the business long enough, the jeweler realized something was amiss and proceeded to ask her why she wanted to buy this gift. After hearing her story, he went into a back room and burst into tears. Her innocence mixed with the pain in her eyes broke him. When he was able to compose himself, he returned and handed her the ring wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper.
The day arrived and after everyone was at their seat, the young girl ran to her room and brought out her precious gift. She handed it to her sister, her face aglow with gratitude and gratefulness. She opened the small box and showed her the most magnificent ring she’s seen in her life. They both burst into tears and after a few minutes of hugging each other very tightly, she thanked her profusely for the gift, although she knew that something wasn’t right. There was no way her young little sister can afford the gift. Although she was planning to return it to the jeweler, she didn’t want to take away her sisters pride.
The next morning, on her way to work, she stopped at the store and promptly handed him the ring apologizing for the obvious mistake. She explained that he must have given her the wrong piece and wanted to return it. However, his response was not something she expected to hear.
He explained as follows, “most of my customers pay me with cash. Your sister however, paid forty dollars in cash but the rest was paid for with inspiration. I was at the funeral last year and I had no idea how you would continue your life. when I saw your sister come in and explain why she wanted it, the inspiration that I felt from her and the rest of your family was so immensely strong that and I used that as payment. Not in cash but in inspiration.”
My dear friends, fellow abuse and trauma victims. We were all born innocent and pure. We had a full life ahead of us. We all had hopes and dreams of what we wanted to become when we get older. Yet, suddenly without warning, a horrible sexual predator, stole away our innocence. He took it all away without the slightest sense of remorse. Our hopes and dreams were shattered. Our inner spark, the flame that keeps us going, was extinguished, leaving our soul dark and cold. Our days are filled with flashbacks and our nights are laden with nightmares.
Unfortunately, there is no funeral for this. We don’t get the compassion that orphans get. We aren’t supported and coached on. We live in a very dark and lonely world, fighting our way to get through the day. What comes so easy to others can be the biggest challenge for us. I know this to be the case because my flame was extinguished as well.
If you are like me, you probably feel so distanced from God. Why does God need us? What are we giving to Him and to the world? Why are we even worth living if we can’t give God what He wants and expects from us. Perhaps we will even be punished by God, for not keeping all the commandments, for not returning at least some of the favors that He’s bestowing upon us.
This is something I’ve been struggling with. Something that haunted and broke me, until I heard this story. While we can’t pay God with cash, we can pay Him with so much inspiration.
Despite being so internally hurt, we wake up everyday. We go to work. We remain alive despite those voices in our head telling us to end it all. We keep going and pushing through the non stop storms that come our way. We breath through every panic attack, push our way through every trigger or flashback. We are still standing strong, despite being knocked over, time and time again.
I ask you, dear friend, is that not true inspiration? Is that not the most magnificent and beautiful gift we can give to God and to the world? Is that not the most real and raw gift one can give?
So I plead with you, next time you feel alone or worthless, next time you feel distanced from God, thinking that He certainly hates you for what you are doing or for the things you can’t do, please read this letter. Please remember this story. Please know that although cash is very valuable, it’s so generic. Inspiration, is so much more real. So much more authentic and pure. Please, even for one moment, lift up your head and feel proud with your basket that you’re giving over to God and to the world. Please look in the mirror, although I know it’s hard, Please look into the reflection, staring back at you and know that you are facing greatness. Greatness that is so valuable, that no cash can buy it!