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Merrilee Boyack

August 22, 2012

I learned a life lesson at Walmart today. (I actually learn life lessons there often, which might seem strange to some people.)

I pulled up in the parking lot, parked my car, and saw that in the spot next to me was an elderly man sitting in a camping chair behind his car. He had the back hatch up to provide shade and held his cup of java in one hand and his crossword puzzle in the other. I teased him that his wife must be taking a looooong time to shop, and he replied, “Well, this lets her enjoy herself.” When I came back out, he helped me load my groceries into my car, and then I said, “Wow, she’s still shopping!” And his reply made me think. “Well,” he said, “she has a lot of time on her hands, just like a lot of us.”

I waved goodbye and drove off thinking, Wow.  I can’t remember the last time I encountered someone who had a lot of time on their hands.

I thought about what my senior years would be like and chuckled. I’m a workaholic, so my days will be crammed full of temple work, family history work, grandchildren, writing, traveling, and anything else I can squeeze in. And the thought made me feel grateful.

I felt thankful for a church that offers us many avenues of service and teaches us to do many good things of our own free will. I see many seniors who are busily serving missions, serving in the temple, and serving in their wards. They are wonderful, productive people.

And yet . . . it’s probably good to slow down sometimes. I’ve been thinking about how my summer has slowed down and how good it feels to catch my breath a bit. I find myself breathing deeper, looking at the blue sky and the gorgeous flowers. I find myself reading books and sitting in the shade.

I have a little bit of time on my hands. And it’s nice.

I guess there’s room for both. Too much time spent on crossword puzzles is a waste and too much time running around like a crazy woman is bad for our health. So somewhere in the middle is best, with times of sprinting and doing much good,  and times of walking slowly and looking at the sky and praying prayers of thanks. There’s time for all of it.

So here’s hoping that you’re having both this summer:  the mad dash to the swimming pool with all the kids and then some slow time sitting in a chair watching them play; the monumental effort to get everyone to church all fully dressed and then some quiet moments during the sacrament to ponder the eternities; the packing and planning for the family summer trip followed by those wonderful minutes with the entire family gathered around the campfire.

Time—fast or slow—is a gift from God. We can treasure its flow in our lives.

For now, I’m going to go read my Ensign. I’ve got just a little bit of time on my hands.