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Thoughts on wasted years and human potential

I have many things to say about these topics, but no present ability to convey them. Breadcrumbs will have to suffice.

Our bodies only have so much to give. Sleep is important to reset those limits, as much as possible in this flimsy frame. It's interesting to consider the difference between how we feel, what we can do, and what we do in the beginning of the cycle versus the end. Oddly to me, most people seem to place what brings them greatest joy (or pleasure, if that's their aim) in the evening. They've got it all backwards. God instructs us to give him our firstfruits, not our lastfruits. And he wants our fruits. He doesn't ask us to give them to netflix. Recreation is something meant for when we have nothing more valuable left to give, not something we spend our vital, fresh energy on. As with all of God's instructions, they have nothing to do him (except as far as he feels joy when we find greater joy), and everything to do with what is best for us.

Often, as I spring out of bed each morning, my heart overflows with yearning to connect heaven and earth by finding or making temporal manifestations of the love of God I feel in my spirit. I feel a flood of worship for God, and a dearth of places to put it. While my worship comes in the form of the work of instantiating the ideas of spirit into physical words, and paying the price required to obtain those ideas, I frequently feel an urgency to connect with some shorter-term bridge between heaven and earth as a temporary relief as I transition into the much longer track of the work God has given me to do.

Sadly, there aren't many bridges between heaven and earth. Too few people sing the song in their heart, and there isn't much to find here in the form of value-added assemblies of the fragments of God that lie scattered, mostly unseen and unused, in and through all things here.

I particularly enjoy finding songs sung sincerely on YouTube. They aren't typically by known artists, who tend to have lost their passion somewhere along the way. Sadly, it's almost impossible to find any overtly religious songs sung with sincerity. Sincerity is the gateway of the spirit, for reasons I have not yet explained. When people attempt to worship God without it, it causes him great sadness. They practice the forms, persuaded that they have all there is to have, while they actually have far less than those who don't profess to believe in God.

Anyway, here's one.

There are deep truths in the lyrics of this song, but I want to share some ideas at the meta-level. This song is originally by Iron Maiden, who is probably the last band from whom most of you would expect to hear anything that draws you closer to God. This is the original song.

An interesting quality to observe in people is their ability to see current or potential value in what others disregard as a "thing of naught." 

As you know, most people dismissed Jesus as a thing of naught. In fact, the religious leaders of his time--those regarded as having the duty to recognize value, and the duty to declare it to the people--were most likely to have the worst appraisal of Jesus.

Jesus saw value in things and people that dramatically differed from the crowds. He saw saints in people that others dismissed as sinners, and he saw sinners in people who were thought of as holy by themselves and others. 

Likewise, inasmuch as you are like the Lord, you will see value differently than others do. You will see value in what others disregard, and disregard what others see as valuable.

There are many reasons for this. The main reason is that one's value comes from one's understanding, and one's understanding comes through the spirit of God, which is differentially accessed and experienced. 

The more like God you have become, the more you act, see, and feel how he would in your place. You can't separate these qualities. You can't put them down and pick them up at will. It's a chained progression, one way or the other.

Like a pile of rocks, the human race is a mix of mostly common stones, with some few gems disguised among them. To the untrained eye, they are all the same. In God's eyes, they are not. He sees all stones in their ideal form--cut, polished, and mounted.

Unlike a pile of rocks, all humans are created with the potential to become as God is. When God looks at you, he does not account your value in terms of who you presently are, but who you have the ability to become. He sees you as a potential reflection of himself. Knowing who he is, and what he is worth, he imputes to you greater value than you can presently comprehend, because you do not yet know who he is nor what he is worth.

If you were to juxtapose your present self with what he sees in you--and what those who are like him see in you, to the extent they are like him--you would be stupefied.

Now, you can't yet do this, and you won't be able to do this until and unless you traverse the distance between your actuality and your potential.

These songs are a nice exemplary microcosm of the principle that is quickly understandable, and will help you understand the much bigger application. 

These two song versions are worlds apart in the eyes of most. To me, the cover is recognizably the same song as the original, because I "saw" it all these years in the original. They were both before me continually, as if the time and experiences and people between the two had already happened.

This is faith. This is what it is like to stare into the abyss, see the light, and formulate discrete actions from how things presently are to how things could be.

Your ability to achieve your divine potential will be determined by how willing you are to believe that God sees much more in you than you see in yourself, and that he is right. This will manifest in terms of how willing you are to yield to his chisel, and how much you seek it.

Finally, I want to touch upon the lyrics of the song. I see too many people today who lament their wasted years. In our mortal bodies, value is most accurately ascertained retrospectively.

These days, people seem to waste time daily scrolling through their phones, desperately but vainly fishing for some external injection of value. There are many things of much greater value that can be done, such as fishing for value in the scriptures. But one tradition we ought to bring back is photo albums. We could do better at this as a family, but we do have them. I treasure the one my wife made for me. I keep it in a special place in our living room so that it is always handy when I am exhausted at night and can't contribute any more to anyone for the day.

Photo albums are a great way to instantly remember the value of past decisions. They remind us that the value of the present is never obvious until the future, after the opportunity to maximize it has passed. It is something that I want to be reminded of often.

Knowledge can only reveal past value. Only faith can reveal potential value. The most valuable outcome of reflecting upon the past is the changes it empowers us to make in how we live in the present to maximize the value of the future.

Instead of applying the information gleaned from reflections of the past by making decisions for the future--in our own lives and especially in outreach to those for whom our past decisions still remain future--people tend to grow apathetic or depressed. This only guarantees even worse reflections in the future of your decisions in the present.

I see too many people passing out of the prime in the realization that they failed to connect their desires with what would fulfill them long term. I see too many past their prime retreating from the ability they still have to affect change in themselves in others.

It is good to reflect upon past decisions and present value. It is better to complete the circuit by asking what you will do differently today as a result of what you have learned about yesterday. All we have is each day, and each day is tremendously valuable. While you are still breathing, you still have something you can contribute.

It is never too late to do all you can to make yourself, others, and the world better than they would be if you weren't here.

Remember, there will come a time when you look back on today the same way that you are currently reflecting upon yesterday. The gift of each day is the opportunity to live so that remembering it brings satisfaction and joy, and not remorse.