I was in elementary school when Dad brought home our first television set. He had won it at a fund raising auction—it was the first TV in our neighborhood.
The screen was all of ten inches and the picture was in black and white. There were only three stations and they went off the air at midnight after playing the national anthem. A “test pattern” came on the screen after the last show and was there the remainder of the night. Programming resumed at about 6 a.m.
Fast food wasn’t fast. In fact, we mostly ate at home. Mom cooked every day and when Dad came home from work, we sat down together at the kitchen table. If I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.
I remember milk being delivered to the front door in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers. Dad used hand signals when driving because there were no turn lights. The ignition switch was on the dashboard and the dimmer switch was on the floor.
There were drive-in movies, Studebakers, washtub wringers, metal ice trays with levers, mimeograph paper, and soda pop machines dispensed Cokes in glass bottles. Mom had to sprinkle the clothes because there were no steam irons.
Well, those things, for the most part, are gone now. Mom and Dad are gone, too. In recent days, one of my brother’s grandchildren nearly drowned, his wife suffered a stroke, the father of a dear friend passed away, and Aunt Winnie went into the hospital with kidney failure. One thing upon which we can count, is that things will change with time.
And how quickly time flies! Occasionally we sing, “Time flies on wings of lightning; We cannot call it back; …Life is quick in passing. ‘Tis as a single day. (“Improve the Shining Moments,” by Robert B. Baird, Hymns, no.226).
Time is a precious commodity, one that some protect and use wisely, but others waste. To the young, it seems that birthdays and Christmas will never arrive. To those of us who are older, it seems only a short time ago that our grown-up children were rollicking around the house under foot.
In the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye, in the wedding song, is amazed that the little girl he carried has grown “to be a beauty” and “the little boy at play” has grown “to be so tall,” and then he wonders, “I don’t remember growing older, When did they?...Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?”
Tevye goes on singing about how “swiftly flow the days …swiftly fly the years, One season following another, Laden with happiness and tears” (“Sunrise, Sunset,” words and music by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, from the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof,” 1964).
Thomas S. Monson gave wise counsel on making the most of our time, of taking advantage of opportunities when they arise. He said, “If you do something that turns out not quite as you had planned, you can almost always put it right, get over it, learn from it.
“But once you’ve missed out on something, it’s gone …Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of ‘what if’ and ‘if only.’
“Author Harriet Beecher Stowe said, ‘The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.’
“Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey and share our love with friends and family. One day, each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is most important.” (Deseret News, week ending June 7, 2008)
Steven R. Covey said, “Don’t get caught up in the thick of thin things.”
How we spend our time determines, in large measure, the quality of our lives. Time, in reality, is more precious than money; it is irreplaceable. Funds wasted, spent or lost can be recovered, regained or restored. Time cannot.
Time, literally, is running out—for each of us. We have less remaining today than we had yesterday, and we have no idea how much of it we have left in our mortal sojourn. Let us make the most of our time.