“Carpe Diem”

(Definition: a Latin phrase that means “seize the day,” encouraging people to embrace the day and make the most of their time.)

My daughter, Marie (“My Marie”) turned 39 years old yesterday!  Humm, it got me thinking.  A lot has happened since that cute little girl and her six brothers and sisters lost their Mommy …and I became a single Dad.  Early on in those days, while we were all sleeping soundly in our beds, I would often awake in the night with the sense I was being watched.  Opening my eyes, I could see the shadowy image of a little curly-haired blonde girl standing by the side of my bed …quietly staring at me in the darkness.  I would always reach my arm out and softly roll her over me and onto the bed beside me.  Not a word was spoken.  She was my beautiful little Marie, and she was three years old.

Since those days (and in addition to the fact that Marie has married a man taller, stronger, and better looking than me, and she has four beautiful children of her own) life has been good.  (Random note: I love hearing my grandchildren call my daughters “Mom.”)  Anyway, as a family, my children and I have all grown and moved along with our lives with growing families of our own.  Yet, we still love each other and keep in close contact.  After all, we are still a family.  Despite our foibles and a few setbacks, I’m proud of our family, and I love them all.

Nevertheless, today I’m having what might be referred to as “a mid-winter introspection.”  It is 2024 and I am 77 years old, relatively healthy, comfortably retired, and my eyes are wide open.  I have time to think!  Life has been good, and I’m a happy man!  However, I am also at a point where I’m wondering, “what more can I do?”  “What am I not doing that I should be doing?”  These are two very profound and personal questions …questions I must answer for myself.  They come to me as I ponder the following words of President George Albert Smith (1870-1951):

“We are not here to while away the hours of this life and then pass to a sphere of exaltation, but we are here to qualify ourselves day by day for the positions that our Father expects us to fill hereafter.”

As I think about these things, I am growing to appreciate more fully …the value of “TODAY.”  I realize each day is a unique gift full of opportunities!  And I need to anticipate and prepare for each day.  During my life, I have had many opportunities and blessings.  I have joy, happiness and great memories from the past.  And I’m excited about the future.  But “TODAY” is now!  It is what I have been given, and I control “MY TODAYS.”   I am excited about “TODAY.”

Building on this idea about the value and importance of “TODAY,” I was reminded of a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. He only is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with worry, fret, and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.”

So, what about my time TODAY?”  What should I be doing “TODAY?”  In my retirement, this is a question I often think about.  But frankly, the answer is up to me.  “Will I make good choices?”  I’ve noticed that much of what I do each day is out of my control: sleeping, cleaning, laundry, routine daily chose, taking the trash out, shopping, shoveling the snow, etc.  But I also have adequate “discretionary time” …free time or available time.  So, how should I use my discretionary time?  I don’t want to waste it.  I’ve also noticed, it’s difficult to fully plan discretionary time.  I don’t always know what opportunities will come my way.  But I do know they will come.  That said, I need to be ready, willing, and looking for opportunities that come my way.  I am confident that if I’m ready, willing and diligently looking for opportunities, relying on the influence of the Holy Spirit, all will be well “TODAY,” …and I will not miss the opportunities coming to me.  In addition, I hope to more likely recognize them and will know “what more I can do” and “what I should be doing.”  It’s just up to me to do it.  “Just Do It!”  Furthermore, as I do it, I will be better prepared for yet another “TODAY” full of opportunities.

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