What is nearly the first question most adults ask when they meet somebody new? Think about it. They ask, “What do you do?” Meaning, of course, what do you do for work? Why do people ask that? Either consciously or subconsciously it is a measure, or a value-judgment, of those around us. I work with people who have disabilities, and have for nearly my entire adult life. When I answer that question people inevitably say something like, “you must be a really special person to do that.” But I know I am not, I am just me, and regardless of what I do with my time, that should be enough. I never ask people what they do. I am currently exploring a business opportunity, and I realized today that I don’t know what many of my friends (except for those I work with) do as a job. I know about the things I most deeply care about: their families; their characters; their hopes; their worries; the things in their lives that make up who they are. But often I do not know what they do for work.
People are not their jobs. Jobs are something they do. People are not their choices in life. Their choices are based on their experiences and what they have learned. Sometimes those things are destructive and harmful, and sometimes they are empowering and beautiful. Either way, they do not increase or decrease the value of a human being. What you can or can’t do for me should not play into how much I value who you are. Neither should what you do or don’t do for me, or even what you have or have not done to me. I always need to be striving to allow my heart to be compassionate enough to accept that you are enough for this world. And so should you. Nobody’s opinion or judgment or attitude should diminish that you are enough, and if you find that they powerfully try to force you to be what you are not, then you should probably consider moving on so you can accept that you are enough.
I see how, without even acknowledging it as we worked on all the planning and preparing that has gone into building a foundation for The Torch, we have embraced the philosophy that “you are enough”. Whoever you are, wherever you are at in your life, you are enough. You are enough to deserve our compassion. You are enough to receive a free hot meal. You are enough. You don’t have to bring anything besides yourself to us, ever. You are enough. Just by being a member of the human race, you are enough. We value you, and your family, and your presence in the world. All of you are enough, and you always will be.