I recently received an email from my brother, Dale, saying that he is considering retirement. A few days later he sent me a picture of a corner in his home with a note that said, “After almost 40 years of marriage I have finally arrived. I now have my very own man-corner. I had thoughts of having a man-cave, but those dreams were dashed long ago…”
The photo shows a modest but nice wooden desk and a two-drawer file cabinet: that’s about all—not even a chair. My other brother, Jay R, sent him this message: “I notice you have nothing to work with in the man-corner—no computer! Good move!! All that is required is a soft recliner chair and a TV.”
Boyd K. Packer gave a friend a tour of his home that included a visit to a secluded spot on his property bordering on a lake. It was a beautiful, quiet place. He explained to his guest that this choice spot was, for him, a refuge. It was the place he went to find solitude, to meditate, to be quiet and to pray. The visitor was impressed. The Elder Packer asked him, “Where is your lake?”
When I asked myself, “Where is your lake?” I came up with two places. One is a secluded spot that I like to call “Hidden Springs.” It is shielded by large oaks and cedars that turn the spot into a quiet getaway out of sight and sound of neighbors and away from the noises of the highway and the rush of the world. I like to park my pickup under a tall spreading live oak, turn the dog out to run and sit alone to think, to meditate and to pray. The older I get, the more I cherish those moments.
Unlike my brother, Dale, however, I also have a man-cave. It is a well-insulated but somewhat rustic room built into an out-building. There, I am surrounded by books, pictures and other mementos of my life that take me back many years. The lack of electricity doesn’t deter me at all from making frequent solo visits to the place in order to be alone with my past and to contemplate the present and the future. I need that time alone and I suppose that each of you do also. The lack of any internet connection in that place, I honestly believe has been a great blessing. There is time for that at the house in-between supper and the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
Lately I have been contemplating our porch. I have spent a lifetime pursuing the things the world thinks to be important. Been there, done that. Now, I wish I had taken more time to sit on the porch during quiet moments in order to enjoy the cool breezes and the glorious sunsets.
“Everybody can enjoy a glorious sunset,” said David O. McKay. “You would have to pay a great sum for a painting by a skilled artist. Only the wealthy can afford it, but almost any evening we can look at a brilliant western sky, and each one of us can say, ‘That’s mine!’ Too few of us appreciate what this means.”
My secret places are helping me to enjoy the moment—to seize the day. Where is your secret place? Where is your lake?