Making Righteous Choices Now

By Guest Blogger Eduardo Zanatta

I will never forget an experience I had while traveling from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles almost three years ago. I was on the airplane, along with many other passengers, waiting for takeoff. The pilot began to back up the aircraft towards the runway when all of a sudden the lights went out and the system shut off completely. It was night time, the weather was bad (cold, rainy, and foggy), and the airplane was a small SkyWest plane. Technicians walked into the plane and tried to fix the problem. It was a slow process and some passengers began to show a certain degree of impatience and frustration. Finally, the pilot spoke up and informed us of the situation. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for being with us tonight. We appreciate your patience as we do all that we can to ensure your safety. We will try to get you out of here as soon as possible. Please, bear with us another fifteen to twenty minutes and we will be on our way to LA. In the meantime, perhaps a common saying among pilots will give you additional comfort, ‘Much better being down here, wishing you were up there than being up there, wishing you were down here.’”

Those words had a tremendous impact on me, and impatience instantly turned into gratitude. I began to think of their application to life beyond just that particular instance. We are all children of God experiencing mortality. We are here to fulfill life’s central purpose—“to prepare to meet God” and “to perform [our] labors”—so that when our days are finished on the earth and we arrive in heaven, our minds will not be filled with regret, guilt, and a desire to come back and try to “fix” all that went wrong (Alma 34:32). It will simply be too late, and we will be up there wishing we were down here. Here and now is the time to carefully make choices with eternal consequences. Each choice we make, every minute of every day, moves us either closer to God or farther away from him. Each daily decision of what to think, see, listen to, and do determines whether or not we will have enough “engine power” to stay up there safely, happily, and permanently. God will help us and his Spirit will assist us if we strive to “improve our time,” repent, and obey (Alma 34:33). Our duty is to “be . . . ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh,” (Matthew 24:44).

As we do our part and treat each day as it were our last, striving to make correct choices and repenting when we get off the path, we will one day find ourselves up there, looking back at our lives and exclaiming with great joy, “I wish not to go back, but I wish to stay!”

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