When I write songs, 87.63% of the time I am near a piano. I’m usually near a guitar as well, since my husband and daughter both have one, but none of us actually know how to play, so it doesn’t do me much good when I write.

Years ago I had neither a piano nor a guitar nearby, but I was in a writing mood. I was boarding an airplane to fly home from Texas to Utah. As luck would have it, I had the row to myself. (If I had been sitting next to another passenger, it might have cramped my creativity.) Feeling a sense of artistic freedom and a nudge to put ideas on paper, I pulled out my spiral notebook and began to write. Maybe it was the bird’s eye view, or the thought of flying home to my family or those ponderous thoughts that turn our hearts to what is most meaningful – but I found myself thinking about…time.

It seems like I’ve watched a million sunsets
And stared at a thousand full moons
Sometimes it feels like I’ve been here forever
And sometimes it all feels brand new

Each moment we are given is a gift from God. He decides how many heartbeats – how many breaths – we will take. Sometimes a loved one passes before we are ready to say goodbye. Sometimes a relationship ends when we wished it wouldn’t. Our children grow up right before our eyes and time seems to slip through our fingers and we wonder where it has gone.

But if there were no more tomorrows
If I knew that I could not stay
I know how I’d spend every minute
If I only had today

How would you spend today, if you knew it was your last?

I don’t mean that in a morbid, sad, depressing way. I’m asking in an embrace-each-day-and-live-every-moment-without-regret sort of way. What do we need to be aware of right now, so we don’t miss the beautifully ordinary moments? What do we want to treasure and hold on to? Who matters most to us and how can we make sure they know?

I landed in Salt Lake City after the sun had gone down. I unlocked and walked in the front door then turned on the lights near the piano. My family was asleep, but there was a melody in my head that needed to find life on the keyboard. As quietly as possible, I gently played the notes, carefully matching the words I had written on Delta.

I’d hold you and listen
And I’d let the dishes sit in the sink
I’d tell you I love you over and over
And for once I’d just let the phone ring
Then I’d remind you of forever
And how our love would never change
If I only had today

Time is so precious. Life is a gift. Joy and purpose is ours for the embracing as long as our arms aren’t already too full of lists and to-dos.

One thing our family likes to do is ask questions. We talk, chat, discuss and communicate about all sorts of things! Put us in the car for more than 30 minutes and we are going to start asking each other things like, “What makes you the happiest right now?” or “If you could achieve anything in the next three months, what would it be?”

I invite you download and print this list of questions that you could ask your family. You don’t have to use them all at once. Perhaps you could ask one question this week during dinner. Maybe you could bring up one of the questions as you drive to soccer or piano lessons. If asking questions is a new practice for your family, you may want to explain why you are asking.  You could even print a copy for each member of your family to work on…like a homework assignment, except don’t call it that.  That doesn’t sound fun.  You could encourage them to write down their answers over the next few weeks and then discuss the responses over ice cream.  Now that sounds fun.  There is a printable page in a style that girls will like and one for boys too!

20 Questions (Girl Style)

20 Questions (Boy Style)

Hopefully these questions will lead you to deeper and more meaningful discussions in your home as your family bond grows stronger.

May you recognize and appreciate the gift of today.

Hilary

Watch the music video for “If I Only Had Today.”

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