Thursday, October 15, 2009


I spent last weekend in Idaho visiting with my sisters. My older sister and our husbands decided to drive up to the mountains north of Sun Valley where our younger sister and the men in her family had set up camp for the opening day of deer season. The younger men were off tramping all over the mountains collecting blisters when we arrived. My sister sat snuggled in a heavy coat before a campfire with her husband beside her. We talked and laughed, but at one point my sister who has a severe form of leukemia remarked that she'd had to come to their annual opening day camp in spite of the snow and cold temperature because she didn't know if she'd ever visit that favorite camping spot again. "It's funny how we always think we have time, then suddenly we don't know if there's any time left at all."

What is it about the human experience that fills us with a sense of having time to do all the things we mean to do some day? I'm not talking about the "bucket list" of wild improbable adventures we dream about in our early years. Watching my sister come to terms with the probability that she doesn't have a lot of time before her, I find myself picturing myself in her place and I understand why she needed to camp with her son and grandsons one last time before winter settles in, why she derives great pleasure from just sitting in her garden, why she spends as much time as possible with her small twin granddaughters, and why she worries and fusses over her husband. It's not the big adventures we regret putting off, but the loved ones and dear familiar places that we thought there was plenty of time to enjoy that cause us to wish we'd paid them more attention sooner. Even when loved ones are the center of your life, it never seems that we've done enough nor spent enough time with them.

There are so many things we plan to do someday and assume we have plenty of time. For some it's becoming active in Church, for some it's attending more of their children or grandchildren's ball games and activities, some think there's plenty of time to begin holding family home evening when the children are older, most members of the Church plan to attend the temple more sometime in the future, some put off taking a class until a more convenient time, some plan to write a book someday or research our family's genealogy, and most of us assume there's plenty of time to tell the people we love of our feelings for them.

Neither I nor most of my writer friends actually have time to write; we make time. And so it should be with our friends and family. We need to make time for them and for all of the really important things in our lives. As my sister said, "we think we have time" meaning we'll be better parents, we'll do our genealogy, we'll go to the temple, we'll say "I love you" to the people who matter most at some indefinite time in the future. But what if we don't have time? Twice in Alma we are told that now is the time to prepare to meet God and to perform all our labors. Do you suppose this includes perfecting our talents, enjoying the beauty around us, strengthening family relationships, and performing acts of service? Perhaps we should live each day as though we're out of time.

An added note:
Hurray! My new book is actually in most LDS bookstores at last and I've mailed off copies to my numerous siblings and children. Now I'm really nervous waiting to hear what readers think of it.


Cheri J. Crane said...

Wonderful post, Jennie. And you're right, most of us take the time we have for granted.

Congratulations on your new book. I can hardly wait to read it.

Gale Sears said...

Wow, Jennie. Beautiful sentiments. Thanks for sharing such tender moments.

Congratulations on your book! I have my copy!