When I reflect on those I admired in my youth I wonder. What happened to the individuals that seemed to have such potential? Were those beautiful people only that way because I saw them through rose colored glasses? How long did the cute clever antics last after the leaders faced the real world? So many kids, with so much potential, and it did not seem to last beyond their eighteenth birthday.
I look at the years in between and as I here stories of those who initially carried hope and optimism with ease I find myself torn inside because of their pain and anguish. Life is cruel to those who deserve it and those who do not. Life can be brutal to anyone. Sickness does not seem to recognize those in positions of privilege, wealth, or power. Acts of self have their own reward no matter who makes the decision.
It is clear in hindsight that “charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.’” (Proverbs 31.30) It is clear that the things that one thinks are important, crucial, and priceless at sixteen often do not stand the test of time. With time one can see how fashion changed, styles evolved, and eternal values came into focus. The very attributes that gave some so much potential ended up causing their downfall.
Yet I look close to three decades later and I don’t see myself as a graying parent. I see someone in the mirror that has potential. I look around and see others with potential and awesome opportunities. It is amazing what still can and will happen! As I listen to God I can see that his view of those around me, and well as myself hasn’t changed during the intervening years. His view then and now focuses on what my response is to a standing offer of recreation wrapped in mercy, unconditional acceptance, and love.
You and I are full of potential. We may not realize it, God does. With each dawn there is a new opportunity. With each smile we share miracles begin. Life is opportunities.