I have finally overcome my reluctance to finish my 2015 Do List that I worked on so faithfully every single day during the year 2015 up until the day that my wife, Velna, got sick and went to the hospital. I truthfully didn't think I would ever have the courage or determination to pick up where I left off and finish the job. My main motivation last year was to write each day for my wife, who was my chief cheerleader and critic. Her criticisms were typically concerned with my wordiness, not my content. I looked forward each day to writing something just to show Velna and get her reaction and encouragement to keep going when I threatened to quit. "Dwight, you can do it!" she frequently reminded me and I can hear her now echoing that thought.
We learn through many avenues and channels. We learn from reading, from television, from social media, from teachers and classes. We also learn from life, and life's lessons are often the most important, if not the most painful in some cases. I learned many lessons during the last several years as I took the best care I could of my wife during her last illness and her chronic pain. But those lessons paled in comparison with the lessons I learned when she left me, stranded to my own inadequate abilities to cope and left to find the willpower to keep going without the main motivating force in my life for nearly 63 years.
One of the best and most significant lessons I learned during this sad time was the admonition to make each day count. No matter what our troubles, no matter whether we are well or sick, whether we suffer from pain or depression, whether we are sad and lonely or discouraged, our task each day is to sort through the fog of challenges and troubles and find a way to make the day count for something. I frequently ask myself, "How can I make this day count?" Maybe I can make the day count by doing something that will improve my health or my mental outlook. Or perhaps I can phone someone who needs an encouraging hello or send someone a thank you card or say a kind word to someone who has not been so kind to me. Whatever we choose to do, we then take inventory before we go to sleep at night and we ask ourselves, "Have I done any good in the world today?" in the words of the LDS hymn. Even the slightest accomplishment, even a smile, even not doing something we thought about doing but, on second thought, decided that doing that particular soemething would not make us better off. Once we adopt the mental set and lock in to the idea that we are going to do some good each day, that we will find a way to make each day count, then we don't have to think about what we need to do any more because doing good things will become a permanent part of our lives. I have had to learn the hard way that I need to subdue my sadness and discouragement and think about others, and think about how I can go about finding meaning and a future path in my own life. Progress is slow, but I am seeing little rays of hope here and there and, prompted continually by the memories of Velna's continual support and encouragement, I am gradually finding my way again.
Task number 289: make each day count. Making each day count will mean that our life matters, and will mean that our concerns for others will matter, and will lead us out of our despair into the sunlight of hope.