General Conference

Pay Attention to the Bright Side of Life

Time is valuable, and we need to choose well how we use each minute

Brazil | Hildemar Santos

What should our motivation be today? After all the confusion, suffering, and deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we celebrate? I'll give you a reason: we're still alive. We must thank God for the life He has given us—that we survived this calamity and still have a job, family, and friends. Despite the crisis, we still have reason to be grateful. 

One day, I parked my car under the landing route outside the airport in my hometown of Porto Alegre. As I watched the planes come and go, a man with his bicycle caught my attention. Did I say bicycle? Yes. It was an old bicycle, rusted and worn out. His clothes were also threadbare, his right foot was bandaged, and I assumed he had never been in an airport in his life. However, he was there, contemplating those aircraft from a distance and observing the activities of the airport. He seemed to be glad to see the other world that lay within that place. He then got on his bike and left! 

After I saw this, I started thinking about life satisfaction. That poor man with his rusty bicycle was having fun just looking at some planes in the distance. I, who have been to dozens of airports around the world, live to complain. 

For what? The lines at the security checkpoint? the jar of peanut butter they confiscated? my beloved pocket knife they didn't let through? my flight was delayed? the departure gate was changed? I was given the wrong seat? the food was too expensive? the water was horrible? all the restaurants were closed? the vending machines didn't work? there were no seats available at the airport on which I could sit? The list could go on. 

It's amazing, but with all the privileges I have to travel, I still seem to be the most miserable person on the planet. Our friend never took off from a plane. However, he was just happy to get close to the airport on his rusty bicycle. We need to stop and think. We should reflect and be grateful for all we have and find more pleasure in the simple things. And over the next 365 days, make plans to help those in need and have more family time. We should consider life, love, and God more and spend our minutes more on activities that are eternal and less on passing fancies. 

Be Happy

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11–13). 

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site