A Single Spark Can Change It All

Good morning! I hope you’re having a nice day so far.

It would be hard to write anything today without addressing the news of yesterday’s devastating fire at the Notre Dame. Thankfully the main part of the building was saved, as well as many of the important works of art. But the damage has forever left an 850-year-old cathedral permanently changed, and those who see it in the future will see a substantially different historical landmark.

It appears most of what was destroyed can be rebuilt and, to the naked eye, will retain its original magnificence. But I read an article yesterday that described the building’s huge oak timbers, cut from trees in the surrounding area that were saplings nearly 1200 years ago. Lumber like that just isn’t available anymore, and it’s just one more architectural feature that will never be the same.

As I read the news and watched video of the fire, starting in a relatively small area of the roof and rapidly growing to consume most of the skyline, it occurred to me that this is just one of the many historical treasures in this world I’ve never seen, and quite possibly would never again have the opportunity to see. It could have been reduced to rubble by this time today.

I spoke with a woman at work who’s traveling to France and Germany in a few weeks. The Notre Dame was one of her planned destinations. I thought of all those people who were planning to celebrate Easter in or near the cathedral this week. For many of them, this would have been their first visit. But, simply by virtue of this year’s Lenten calendar, they’re arriving one week too late.

All through our lives, we make choices. Most of us have some type of “bucket list” of things we’d like to see and do before our days on this earth are over. We make choices along the way, sometimes opting to set our dreams aside for another day. Those choices may be voluntary or imposed upon us by circumstances over which we have little control, but the net result is the same.

We always assume that, for whatever it is we want to do, tomorrow is always an option. We put off that vacation until the kids are a little older. Then we put it off until they’re grown. Then we put it off until we’ve saved a little more for retirement. Then we put it off until after we retire. Our intentions were sincere. But then one small spark changes it all.

Sadly, you hear that same story repeated over and over in the funeral parlor. Plans people had made to call or visit “sometime soon,” invitations they turned down or never extended themselves, that one big get-together they’d been dreaming about for years. And then, in an instant, those plans are forever changed.

The intentions were sincere. But intentions can’t be shared and enjoyed. They can’t build those memories that people will treasure for a lifetime. They can’t even motivate us to act on our dreams. They are simply a thought floating around in our head, occasionally reminding us of something we hope to do someday.

If there are people in your life you would miss tomorrow, call them today. Don’t just make plans to visit – do it. You can probably come up with a dozen excuses for putting it off until another day … time, money, your work schedule, other obligations … all valid reasons on the surface, but excuses that will haunt you for a long time if fate steps in with other plans.

If there’s something in this world you really want to see, whether it’s a cathedral, a famous theater, a redwood forest, or a bunch of faces carved in the side of a mountain, don’t wait for the perfect opportunity because things will never be perfect. Life has little regard for our intentions, and until we act on them, they’re little more than a checklist for our obituary.

Build that dream list and start checking things off instead of crossing them off. The best of intentions won’t mean a thing when the opportunity is gone. As we found out yesterday, it can all change with a single spark. So, let that spark come from within. And, once it’s started, never let that fire die.

Make time for the things you want to do in your life. Make time for the people you want to see. Someday is now. Today. Change the things you need to change and prioritize what’s important to you. If money is an issue, make some. If time is the problem, find some. If physical impairments are getting in the way, work around them. Other people do it every day. You can, too.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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