Credit scores, housing prices, size zero jeans, 21 point evaluations, numbers on a scale, or in a bank account, all these things seem to define what it means to be human. Your stats, if you are an athlete, SAT scores, if you are a young college hopeful, the dollar amount of your salary, if you are working person, all press hard against the windows of the soul. Menacing enough, that a mortal might just wonder if they matter to the world in which they exist, if the numbers don’t line up.
These days the numbers aren’t so good for me, and I have to ask an age-old question: Just what is my value? I am also, rarely, a member of any group or committee of note. My voice is not sought after. I don’t have a post-graduate degree. I haven’t written a paper or had my name associated with a big project. I am an observer, but I rarely know what is going on. And I have to admit, that often I am happy in my matter-not-one-bit-ness. But I would also be a liar to say that there is not a tiny, overly sensitive part of me that wishes I could better play the numbers game. But I am not even in the running.
So what do I do with my digitally-challenged self. I don’t know right now. I feel sad. Still a bit like the school girl who was always chosen last for dodge ball, the one never invited to parties. I do know one thing for sure, though. Isak Dinesen said it best Babette’s Feast, “An artist is never poor.” I have my words and the way I see the beauty in life. And I know another thing, I can love and be gentle. For I get what its like not to be number one. I can give grace for I understand deeply what it means to be at sixes and sevens. I can accept that I may just be known as a social security number on some record one day, but there are sublime things in a human, sweetness that cannot be calibrated or measured. These little, inconsequential things, like the heart-felt connection between two souls, can’t be counted, but do indeed count.