I do not particularly like the word 'work.' Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.
A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar. (148)
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.
Let my assure you, Brethren, that some day you will have a personal Priesthood interview with the Savior, Himself. If you are interested, I will tell you the order in which He will ask you to account for your earthly responsibilities. First, He will request an accountability report about your relationship with your wife. Have you actively been engaged in making her happy and ensuring that her needs have been met as an individual? Second, He will want an accountability report about each of your children individually. He will not attempt to have this for simply a family stewardship but will request information about your relationship to each and every child. Third, He will want to know what you personally have done with the talents you were given in the pre-existence. Fourth, He will want a summary of your activity in your church assignments. He will not be necessarily interested in what assignments you have had, for in his eyes the home teacher and a mission president are probably equals, but He will request a summary of how you have been of service to your fellowmen in your Church assignments. Fifth, He will have no interest in how you earned your living, but if you were honest in all your dealings. Sixth, He will ask for an accountability on what you have done to contribute in a positive manner to your community, state, country, and the world.
I do not understand people who will lustily throw $40,000 at the shiny red automobile of their choice, but well up with tears and become outraged when they are asked to pay $5 for a damaged videotape. Either they are fucked up and their priorities are fucked up or I am fucked up and my priorities are fucked up. Because I am me, I think it is them.
There are moments in life, and they happen so infrequently that they tend to really stand out, when life hands you the gift of perspective. Sometimes, we forget to show our appreciation. Sometimes, we get our priorities mixed up. And, sometimes, we forget how far we’ve come. But life always has a way of nudging you to remind you about these important things.
Those East Coast rich kids are a different breed, on a fast track to nowhere. Your friends in Seattle are downright Canadian in their niceness. None of you has a cell phone. The girls wear hoodies and big cotton underpants and walk around with tangled hair and smiling, adorned backpacks. Do you know how absolutely exotic it is that you haven’t been corrupted by fashion and pop culture? A month ago I mentioned Ben Stiller, and do you remember how you responded? ‘Who’s that?’ I loved you all over again.
If you truly feel that self esteem and motivation have to happen first before you can make changes in your life, then we’ll probably be sharing walkers at a retirement home as we talk over what might have been.
I‘m very aware that my personal life, my marriage, is the source of speculation and interest in the department and with the public. I can live with that. I’m also aware that my husband’s businesses, and his style of conducting his businesses, are also the source of speculation and interest. I have no particular problem with that. But I resent very much that my reputation and my husband’s character should be questioned this way. From the media, Commander, it’s to be expected, but not from my superior officer. Not from any member of the department I’ve served to the best of my ability. I want you to take note, Commander, that turning in my badge would be like cutting off my arm. But if it comes down to a choice between the job and my marriage, then I lose the arm.
Refrain to-night; And that shall lend a kind of easiness To the next abstinence, the next more easy; For use almost can change the stamp of nature, And either master the devil or throw him out With wondrous potency.
We must try again to be alive to what the people of our country really long for in our national life: forgiveness and grace, maturity and wisdom. ...Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls.