My husband is doing a project at work where he finds people who are making a difference and tells their story through video. It is a really wonderful initiative as it is so important to highlight efforts within a community that otherwise might go unnoticed. I have become a bit of a resource to him as he continues to build out this project because as a blogger, I have connections to many local people who are doing awesome things and being influential. But brainstorming with Dan about who should be featured and why has left me considering what makes someone worthy of being noticed in this way.
The thing is, in order to be noticed, you have to do the things that are noticeable.
Yesterday I shared a coffee with someone from the church that Dan and I have just decided to start attending full time. He wanted to make me feel welcome and included in our new church while ensuring that I found a place to use my gifts and talents. He knew I would want to be included in the life of the church and made it a priority to show me that they would value me being a part of it.
As I admitted that it is hard to know how much time I would have to give, what with being needed so much at home, he said something very poignant to me. “Most people don’t realize or value this,” he told me, “but your first church is your home. You are a minister to your family.” This wasn’t a new concept for me. In fact, it is one I have meditated on quite a bit in the past. But it is so wonderful to hear my role in my home being valued by others.
You see, it takes doing something that is noticeable to be noticed. What doesn’t get noticed often is the diligent work many of us do in the background. No one is going to bring a camera crew to my house to shoot a one-minute spot about how I am making our community better by trying to raise smart, strong, kind boys or my determination to strengthen our community by strengthening my marriage. Those things don’t translate well to a video meant to go viral. I’m just a mom. I’m just a wife.
This is true for the majority of people in our community, doing the hard daily work full of care and compassion that is just as unnoticeable but certainly not unworthy; The quiet work in the background that strengthens and encourages others to be amazing; The loving actions that help take pressure off our healthcare and eldercare systems.
I admit that I’ve been feeling less-than anything special over the last little while. I’ve felt as if my role here was under-valued and I’ve counted dreams that have slipped away. It is so easy to feel undervalued when the work you do is unnoticeable.
But there is value in the unnoticeable. There is power in the strength it takes to sacrifice. There are long term results in all the hugs and kisses and family dinners with meals made from scratch.
And the thing is just this: Every time we do these tasks that feel so very unnoticeable, we are actually showing those in our lives how much we notice them. These jobs that don’t come with paycheques or prestige are the very roles that highlight the value in others who need it oh-so-much.
That is just the very nature of love, isn’t it? Letting go of our own need to be noticed to shine the light on someone else. And this being-in-a-family thing works best when it is full of light and love.