MOMENTS THAT MATTER
Two days before Mitchell was admitted to the hospital for heart failure we decided to take our kids sledding near Park City. In my entire professional career, work was never more demanding than it was at that particular time. But I decided to delegate tasks and invest energy in my son, who I sensed was about to get very, very sick. If only I knew how fatally sick he would soon become. But we didn't know …. I just sensed time was running out. And nothing else mattered.
Sledding that afternoon was so much fun. Mitchell had the time of his life. And when everyone was cold and tired and wanted to go home, Mitch asked to go on a few more runs … which we did. His appetite for life and adventure was nearly insatiable – which made his diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy an even greater tragedy and bitter irony.
Later that evening, after the sun had set, we drove into the valley for pizza and by that time Mitchell was beginning to get sick – the kind of sick you don’t recover from. The kind of sick that kills you. At first, the signs of heart failure were invisible. He simply didn't eat anything. He just sat there with a smile on his sweet face. As often as we asked him to have some of his favorite pizza, he turned it down saying he wasn't hungry. We even ordered an extra pasta dish we were sure he would love, but he turned that down, too. We had no idea his heart was becoming catastrophically sick.
What you see here is a capture of the last physical adventure Mitchell took in mortality.
I had a Stake President (a leader in my church) who once said in a meeting: “Don’t ever apologize for taking your kids on vacation or purchasing something you can afford; there’s nothing wrong with that. Purchase ‘things’ with money. But whatever you do, don’t purchase ‘things’ with time.” I immediately saw the great wisdom in what he taught . . . his point was the proverbial “things” people are tempted to chase after … the boats, cars and houses and other trivialities people work so hard to pay for have the potential to cost much more than money. And all too often that is what happens; without realizing it, people pay too high a price with the one currency that cannot be saved, traded, borrowed, or exchanged: time. And time is the greatest currency of all. There is so much we can do with time – if we invest it wisely.
This photo is a reminder of moments that matter. This investment of time with my son will pay dividends for years to come. Had I not listened to my heart I would have been paying emotional penalties and interest for a lifetime. I am grateful I don’t have to pay the price of “what if”. I saw a moment and I invested time in it. No professional advancement, no amount of money, no material possession has the same value as this memory has with my son. There is simply no comparison.
Relationships with family are the most important investment. Anyone that tells you otherwise is selling something … and it’s not worth the price.