I’ve been trying to think of what to give you, my dear readers who’ve given me so much joy this year, for Christmas and can only think of one thing that’s actually worthy of being given. It’s nothing tangible, nothing you can spend, nothing you can eat, yet it’s something that can bring a little light to even the darkest times. A little knowledge that helped me when I was at my lowest point.
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the knight was lost.
For want of a knight the battle was lost,
And when the dust settled the kingdom was lost,
All for the want of a nail.
It’s an old proverb, told in many forms, and that is the version I’m most familiar with. The meaning is simple enough – even the smallest, most insignificant detail can have long lasting and unforseen effects – and is usually used to point out that we should pay more attention to the details. I never read it that way myself. The way I saw it is that if a nail can change the world, then so can every single person alive right now. Every single one of us changes the world every single day we exist, even if we don’t notice the long lasting effects we have. We may not cure Cancer every day, but something as small as smiling at a stranger might start an butterfly effect that will save countless lives that would have been lost otherwise. Imagine your smile making someone’s day slightly better and them passing it on, each time affecting more and more people – making one person not feel like going out to drink and saving the lives that person would have taken behind the wheel that night, inspiring someone to work harder and cure a virus that would have taken thousands of lives otherwise, making a suicide bomber think twice about blowing up a hospital. These may seem like extreme examples, but they show you the power each and every one of us wields in this world. And that’s my gift to my readers this Christmas, an insight into your self-worth.
We all feel worthless at some point in our lives, and this is traditionally the time of year when more people than ever feel that way, but that doesn’t mean that we are worthless. No, far from it. All that ever means is that somewhere along the paths we travel in our lives we’ve forgotten how to measure our worth. It’s not what we’ve accomplished compared to other people, and it’s not a monetary value that shows how much of a worthwhile life we’ve lived. This next quote isn’t a proverb, it’s vintage Furie, but it’s still as true today as when I first said it over a decade ago.
A man can’t be measured as the sum of his parts, only by how he has touched other’s hearts.
I hope this post helps some of those that need it to realise how important they are to the world, to see how much they really are worth, and most of all to have a Merry Christmas this year.