In a previous life, my wife worked as an insurance adjuster. If I am honest, I have not won an argument since she had that job. She presents such logical and compelling facts that I struggle to even get my point across. Once, she was asked to assess the damage on a car that was over twenty years old. It was not a particularly popular model, but the owner wanted it assessed rather than assume that the damage totaled it. She got the vehicle inspected and appraised. The car was in pristine condition, super low miles, and in the end, the car was not totaled but restored to its previous glory. Both the owner and the adjuster saw the real worth of the vehicle. They looked past the damage to see that the car meant something to the owner and did not fit the standard stereotype of its time.
There is the old phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” How many times have we found or seen something that means a lot to us but little to others? There are TV shows that focus on hidden gems and finding the “diamond in the rough.” There is a certain appeal and thrill in discovering valuable items in unlikely places.
I have several patients who have been worn down by life. One is hunched over, has lost most of her hair, and is often forgetful. The general public would see her and just pass on their way; but they would miss out on her story. She graduated from nursing school in the early 60’s back east and found an ad in the newspaper that a town in Alaska was looking for a nurse. She wrote to them, they offered her the job, and she moved to Nome in the 1960s. She was and still is a wild woman. Another patient of mine was the first female aeronautical engineer at Boeing. Both of these amazing women are routinely undervalued by others because of their age and appearance. Their many contributions to society are not evident to the casual observer.
The Lord knows our story and our hearts, but we often neglect the effort needed to get to know our neighbors, to learn their stories, to appreciate their value. During this pandemic, I found a record of my grandfather’s draft card, written in his hand. It made me wonder, what did he think as he served toward the end of WWI? I never met him; I only have pictures, stories, and records. But having served in the military myself, I felt a renewed kinship with him, a commonality that spanned a century.
What are we worth?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (KJV John 3:16). What an amazing gift! A gift above all others, the life of our perfect, flawless brother, sacrificed to save us all. Perhaps, we are undervalued by those around us and society as a whole, but the Lord knows our worth, and the sacrifice of his only son reaffirms where we fit in with the grand plan of happiness.
It is my prayer that we will see those around us as the Lord does, and “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine & Covenants 18:10). He sent his son to die for us, and he sent us to lift and serve each other. May we each take the time to make new friends as we notice, listen to, and help the good folks around us.
Dr. John Boston is a father, husband, grandfather, local physician, member of the Mat-Su Board of Trustees and Colonel in the Alaska Air National Guard. He believes in Christ and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.