There was a time when I proclaimed that I was addicted to music. I spent much of my time listening to music. I was always on the hunt for new songs, new bands, and new genres. I would listen to some songs because I loved the way they had the piano or guitar, I would listen to other songs because I loved the harmony and various parts, but most songs that I listened were for the lyrics. I would hear some verse and think “man, that is so deep.”
A few weeks ago I was driving in my car listening to a song when certain lyrics really popped out to me. When I first heard it I thought: “That sounds deep”. Later I listened to that same song, listening for those oh so deep lyrics: I slept in last night’s clothes with tomorrow’s dreams but they’re not what they seem. When I heard them again I realized, they are not that deep at all. The lyrics are literally describing the sleeping process in a really fluffy way last night’s clothes is just pajamas; tomorrow’s dreams is just the dreams you have after midnight and we all know dreams are confusing and complicated things (that would be why there are millions of dream interpretation books out there.)
This whole experience with the lyrics got me thinking: what is the value of these things? Music addict me would have heard those lyrics and clung to them proclaiming their deep meaningful value, but older me realized that those lyrics value is the same as saying “I slept in pajamas and had crazy dreams”. Besides songs, what is the value of things? What gives things their value? What makes some things worth more than other things?
Some would argue that the value of anything is determined by the beholder. The value of an apple would be different to someone who grew up having abundance of apples than to someone who never had one in their life, or even to the farmer who grew them. But the farmer who grew them has a different level of understanding of said apple than the other two. Just as the person who has many experiences with apples knows that there is a chance to be taken with an apple, it could be sour or sweet. The person who is experiencing the apple for the first time may value it above money because it is so new and precious. But does the worth of the apple really change? Can me saying “Ooo, Golden Delicous” really make it worth more? It is still an apple right?
Besides words and objects, what about other aspects? What about values such as faith, individual worth, knowledge, service, accountability, integrity, and virtue. These were all things that at one time were respected and expected among people. These are often called values or morals. But today less time is taken on integrity. No one counts virtue as anything other than silliness. Service is only good if it can go on a resume or college application. And to announce that you have faith in anything related to religion is like announcing that you believe in the boogey man. Individual worth and knowledge only go so far (as long as they mesh with what everyone else is saying). But do these things still hold any value or worth?
Going back to the apple, science can tell us exactly the worth of the apple to our bodies. Apples have innate benefits, whether they’re your first apple ever or your kajillionth apple, whether you grew the apple and its tree, it’s organic or if it’s not, the apple’s benefits and value is set. The apple’s worth doesn’t change if it’s put in a pie and baked, if it’s mashed and turned to sauce, or eaten just the way it is.
Just like science can lay out the innate worth and benefit of apples to us, Heavenly Father has built in worth and value to everything. Yes, we as individuals have innate worth, but so do the morals that we so openly and happily shun.
Something incredible about these values such as service, integrity, faith, and so on is that when we give them their proper worth and value, when we cherish them and embrace them, we can see our own innate worth better.
In a recent lesson in Relief Society someone made the comment that those who have rejected these values never seem to have the same peace that those that embrace them do. I had never noticed the correlation before, I always had seen anger but failed to recognize it as a lack of peace. In a world that is so full of confusion and turmoil, it makes sense that we would begin to devalue those things that bring about the confusion and turmoil and focus on developing and encouraging the things that bring peace and a better view of our value. It is no coincidence that value and value are the same word.
What do you think is undervalued?