Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Anniversary Musings: Value for Value Received

with 14 comments

Folks, I wracked my brains today to try to figure out something new to say about my beloved late husband Michael B. Caffrey.


Because today is my wedding anniversary, that’s why. Fifteen years ago today, Michael and I married. It was the right decision, and it was perhaps the most important one of my entire life.

I’ve told you many things about Michael, but I’m not sure I have discussed some very important things that Michael stood for. Therefore, I’m going to rectify that now, and hope that wherever Michael is in the cosmos, he’ll smile at the recollection.

Anyway, Michael was ethical, principled, fair-minded, and believed firmly in the phrase I put in the title: value for value received. He believed people should be rewarded for good work, whether they were a ditch digger or a countess; he believed that too many people forgot that we were all alike, deep down, and that no one person, no matter how highly born he or she might be, was above anyone else. Or should be.

Michael and I often talked about politics, and perhaps I should share a bit about that, too. He often lamented that politicians forgot about “value for value received,” and started getting above themselves. Started thinking they were better than everyone else, because they had powerful positions, and powerful friends, and could amass great wealth while in office.

As a non-materialist Zen Buddhist, Michael abhorred the belief that only the powerful, well-connected socialites were worthy. He believed very strongly that if we were to believe in individualism, we had to give the resources (including health care, education, and in some cases job training) so people who weren’t born wealthy could make their ways in the world, find their passions, and work on the pursuit of happiness as they saw fit.

See, the whole idea of value for value received permeates everything. If you believe in bettering yourself, you should want to find a way toward a better education, learn new skills, or at minimum read as much as you can, as widely as you can.

In other words, you have to invest in yourself. You can’t give yourself the value you deserve if you don’t.

Another thing Michael was very concerned about was what he considered a dearth of compassion. Too many people, he felt, were not willing to look outside of themselves — while politicians were perhaps the easiest to poke fun at (and definitely to criticize), he was far more worried about the average person.


Well, Michael felt too many people refused to use their heads except for hat-racks. And because they abrogated their responsibilities to think and reason for themselves, they perhaps forgot about “value for value received,” and plodded along in life rather than make any strides in learning, creativity, or in their chosen profession.

Granted, there are many people who run into difficulty while trying to make strides. (I am one of them.) Life is often unfair, which is why Michael believed in the social safety net.

Michael was compassionate, fair-minded, smart as a whip and believed that if life was to be worth living, we had to struggle with all our might, soul, and skill. Only by doing that could we attain “value for value received.”

While Michael hasn’t walked this Earth now for nearly thirteen years, I still think he was onto something.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm

14 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Happy Anniversary to you and Michael, Barb! *hugs* N&N

    N. N. Light

    June 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    • Thank you both, and I hope you two will have a great weekend. *hugs* back.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm

  2. Happy anniversary to you and Michael, Barb, and he sounds like a great guy! His thinking resonates with me, especially that we’re all equal but sadly a lot of people think they’re above. 🙂❤️


    June 25, 2017 at 5:47 am

    • Thanks, Nicolle. I’m glad you understood. 🙂

      Michael was the most wonderful person I have ever known, by a mile. He understood me completely, which is rare, and he also had a deeply felt sense of conviction that I resonated to in its entirety. I miss him terribly.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      • He definitely sounds like a great guy, and I think it’s wonderful that you write great stuff about him every year! It really shows how much you love him. 🙂


        June 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      • I try, Nicolle. 🙂 And as one of our friends (writer Loren K. Jones) put it, “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed — and Michael mattered.”

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      • Wow, that’s such a great way to put it, and I agree. 😀


        July 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm

  3. Beautiful tribute

    Woebegone but Hopeful

    June 25, 2017 at 8:51 am

    • Thanks, Roger. Glad to see you; was wondering what had been going on. 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      June 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      • I’ve been on a bit of a journey in completing a fantasy novel- the whole direction of the tale turned suddenly and surprised me; characters took over! 🙂

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 26, 2017 at 2:21 am

      • Well, that’s what you want…when they start behaving like real people and don’t settle down, you know you’ve really got something worthwhile. (Granted, it’s harder to deal with ’em that way, too. But we take with one hand and give with the other…)

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      • I’ve never been argued to by characters before…extraordinary. Not complaining though, some of the minor ones came up with better sub-plots than I could ever have thought of.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      • A red-letter day! 🙂 Do take care, Roger.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 30, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      • You too. 😃

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        July 1, 2017 at 1:57 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: