This evening I read a chapter from Gilbert Meilaender’s book, Bioethics and the Character of Human Life: Essays and Reflections.
Here is one paragraph that particularly captured my attention:
Thus, although compassion surely moves us to try to relieve suffering, there are things we ought not to do even for that worthy end–actions that would not honour or respect our shared human condition. One of the terrible truths that governs the shape of our lives is that somethings there is suffering we are unable–within the limits of morality–entirely to relieve. Hence, the maxim that must govern and shape our compassion should be “maximize care,” which may not always be quite the same as “minimize suffering.”
This morning, I was drinking some orange juice that I had picked up at Shoppers Drug Mart when I realized that it tasted nothing like the freshly squeezed organic orange juice that I have taken to buying at Farm Boy.
And every now and again, I eat some not-so-quality chocolate and realize its inferiority compared to the exquisite and delicious chocolate that I like to buy at Stubbe Chocolates here in Ottawa.
This is not about decadence or extravagance, but about quality and appreciation.
I remember reading a personal finance book when I was a teenager that discussed how foregoing $5 daily lattes (and similar “unnecessary” routine expenses) could lead to “building wealth” or “finishing rich.”
I recently asked a young woman about what ways she has found to profit from the situation of living during a pandemic.
Her immediate answer was that she came to truly value attending church because this is something that had been taken away during to the periods of lockdown. Prior to the pandemic, she would often skip church because of her erratic work hours, but once she had experienced the loss of this possibility that was not on her own terms, she resolved to make church attendance, when possible again, a non-negotiable commitment in her life.
This is a testament that we value that which costs us.
If something costs us nothing, it is natural to expect that we will not value it highly.
And so I am also reminded of the ardour with which persecuted Christians attend church.