Last weekend was a yardsale weekend. Two friends came over, and we did the first dump from my parents’ home — a towering New Englander that has been continuously occupied since it was built in 1913.
Yard sale shoppers never value your possessions as you do. They tend to look critically at the pair of “captains’ chairs”, locally made, that were among the first furniture your parents bought for their first real house, and offer “I’ll give you $10 for just the one.
You, in turn, have to choose what has the most worth for you: the potential for an extra $15 or $20 from another customer or the immediate opportunity to remove one more item from the house for good.
I took the $10. Also a lot of $2s and $3s and $5s. It added up, remarkably, to more than $700 over seven hours. Which is, in itself, worth much less than having the house more empty and closer to sale-ready.
There’s no telling what this house will be “worth” to the next person who chooses to own it. The odds are good that the 1974 kitchen will be gutted and updated. A new buyer won’t see that the outdated cabinets and formica replaced the 1913 beadboard cabinets, with their sticky varnish that never came clean. A buyer might tear down the barn, which rests insecurely on a rock foundation. The half-acre property, in what has become a very desirable neighborhood, might be seen as having more “worth” with condos replacing the old house.
Counting “worth” in dollars is a current national pastime.We display our “worth” in wardrobe and decor, in the tally of restaurants and concerts we’ve visited, and the vehicles we drive. By these terms, my parents — dressed in thrift store attire, rarely traveling, “eating out” once a week at a diner — appeared to have little “worth.”
When my brother reviewed their financials after both died, they turned out to be “worth” much more than many of their well-dressed, well-traveled peers. In that way, they were like one of my largest donors at a charity where I used to work. Walmart shoppers and McDonald’s diners, they popped in one day with almost no notice to drop a six-figure check on my desk.
Financial worth can’t be measured in appearances. How much less can we measure the value a person’s character adds to the world.
Enjoy your valuable, wonderful life. It’s worth is not measured in dollars but in loving deeds. Live well, love well. Bless you.
This post responds to the Five Minute Friday prompt “Worth.”