A brilliant, gorgeous, red-orange fire, that was filling up the sky with breathtaking beauty, woke me up this Monday morning. The light of that sunrise was streaming through our bedroom windows as our little Clara climbed onto the bed to snuggle beside me for a few minutes (her morning tradition that I treasure). I told Gracie who was getting ready for school nearby to “look and see”! She said, “I know! You are so blessed!” (She meant so blessed to have this view out my windows, but I know “so blessed” period.)
My husband had risen earlier and had tenderly taken Mikela to seminary even when I had offered. The girls and I only stayed on the bed a few more minutes before prying ourselves off to get moving before they would be late.
When Mike returned he had horrible, horrible, horrible news. A friend of ours had lost her little brother that very morning, in a car accident. Only 20.
The tragedy and melancholy of it pierced our hearts so very much, feeling great pain for her and her family, great sorrow for the loss of young life.
We prayed together. What else can we do? Seek to show our sorrow joined with theirs in some small way – we will try, but attempts at comfort seem so futile sometimes in the loss of precious life.
But this news somehow seeped into the rest of my day… and I hope, forever now, into my way.
We continued on our morning routine, getting children prepared and gathered, goodbye kisses and ‘i love yous’ and out the door to school.
Gorgeous, gorgeous spring morning, evidence of life, new life, everywhere.
First task, to pick Mikela back up from seminary.
As I turned the corner to the home she was in I was in awe of the sunrise streaming across the cemetery now.
And on the radio:
And I was reminded of the truth, “Every second counts on the clock that’s tickin'”.
I decided to collect clocks a couple years ago- about the time I was amazed and grateful that I had lived, and my babies had lived, through a most challenging pregnancy. The clock now reminds me of a truth I’ve always known 1) that my time here is relatively short, and 2) to be prepared for the future.
I felt this morning was another personal reminder to me.
First, that my time is short. In my youth my family lived near a cemetery and my mom and I, or my siblings or friends and I, would often walk it’s beautiful, clear paths. I would look to see the names, when and how many years this person lived or that. I wondered about their lives and somehow realized then that mine would someday be as theirs, a tombstone with a name and a date on it. I formulated questions, more articulately now than perhaps then, but they were stirring in me: What would it matter that I had lived? What difference could I make for this beautiful, amazing world with the life that I’d been given? What would I do with this gift of life? What would be the MOST IMPORTANT things I could, would, WANTED to do before my time here was up?
I remember vividly visiting my grandmother, her opening up her jewelry box and her hope chest and showing me some of the wonders of the past from inside. A couple items most especially stayed in my mind and settled there for perusing and pondering again and again. A watch chain made from the hair of my great, great grandmother, Hulda Mary Neilson Olson, as an engagement gift, I believe, given my great, great grandfather. Kept carefully with a chain and locket he had given her for their engagement (the writing of her daughter, my Great Grandmother, on the box records 1869), their faded but beautiful pictures are still inside. Labeled and saved carefully by my great grandmother Ruth, and passed on to her daughter to be seen of her granddaughter years and years and years later, while I was yet a child myself. The reality of the gift lingered with me, the one remaining artifact I had seen as evidence of my great, great grandparent’s lives. A beautiful artifact, testifying of their love for one another and their treasuring of family.
My grandmother died when the first three of our children were very, very small, but the extended family asked if there was anything of Grandma’s that I wanted. Two things, yes, I wished for: the engagement gifts, and the hanging on the wall that had articulated the desire in my youth also to be virtuous “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” My birthstone was a ruby and my desire then was to be virtuous as that scripture in Proverbs 31 described. These 2 clues from my grandmother reminding me life is short and beginning to teach me how to make it count. I was so blessed to receive the engagement gifts; the wall hanging had already been claimed but the words stay in my heart as a guiding light.
Next, this morning reminded me, just as clocks now do, to be prepared. “When the time for performance has come, the time for preparation is past.” Being prepared for any upcoming event, including the unplanned ones, helps us live life happily and more fully, more peacefully and wonderfully, but being prepared for the end of our time for preparation, that’s very important to me. “Death is a necessary component of our eternal existence. No one knows when it will come, but it is essential to God’s great plan of happiness. 29 Thanks to the Atonement of the Lord, eventual resurrection is a reality and eternal life is a possibility for all humankind.” I believe with every cell in my body that we will be brought to stand before a judgement bar and asked to account for what we have done with this gift of life. It keeps me striving.
33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. (Alma 32:32-34)
And then this scripture: “And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.” (Alma 12:24.)
Yes, our time is short and we do need to use it to prepare for the day that our time here on earth is over. Perhaps the greatest gift we have been given besides life is the reminder that life here comes to an end. It’s a gift that those that go ahead of us give to us. The clock is ticking away, even on the most beautiful of days, reminding us to make every second matter! I believe we will be happiest with our life at the end of it if it has been filled with giving love!
Here are a BUNCH of pictures from the seconds and minutes of our life lately.
With Love, CaMarie and Crew