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The Right Moment is Now

February 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

“The Right Moment Is Now”

January 31, 2010, Broadcast #4194
When acclaimed American artist John Singer Sargent was commissioned to paint the official portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, he spent several days at the White House, hoping to catch the president in just the right setting. One morning as Roosevelt came down the staircase, Sargent approached and asked when the president might be available to pose for the portrait.
“Now,” replied Roosevelt, a man whose life was made up of acting “now.”1

The story of this painting holds a great lesson for all of us. Do we take advantage of each moment; do we seize the opportunities that life offers us? Or does our masterpiece get postponed because our doubts, weaknesses, or circumstances cause us to hesitate? As President Roosevelt said in his characteristically direct way, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”1 Too many great works and good deeds are held hostage while we wait for the right moment. For some things, perhaps for most things, the right moment is now.

Roosevelt has such vision, reflected in his well-known words from 1899: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”3

1  See David McCullough, Brave Companions: Portraits in History (1992), ix.
2  In James Charlton, ed, The Military Quotation Book (2002), 108.
3  In Justin Kaplan, ed., Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 17th ed. (2002), 614-15

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