COLUMN: Sing the song you were meant to sing

Published 4:04 pm Sunday, September 24, 2023

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The trees are quiet now. 

Late in summer, the cicadas begin their song, with the males “singing” to attract females. Each species sings a unique song. After reproducing, the adult cicadas live but a short time, the song slowly wanes, and the trees fall silent again.

I’m no entomologist, and I don’t understand the scientific details of the broods and lifecycles of these insects. But I do understand that when the time comes, they sing their song, and continue singing until the very end. 

Basho, a well-known seventeenth-century Japanese poet, wrote a famous haiku about the cicada: 

“The cry of the cicada 

Gives us no sign

That presently they will die.” 

Like the cicadas, our lives are all too short. One day we will each pass from this life and into the next. Like the cicadas, we should each sing our unique song while we can, so that our music does not die within us.

Jesus Christ taught the importance of sharing our song and our light with others: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). 

As children of a loving Heavenly Father, we have a divine destiny. We can accomplish those things that He has in store for us when we live the two great commandments to love God and our neighbor each day. 

I am reminded of two other sayings of our Savior. 

He warned against dwelling too much on the past when He taught: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). 

Yet He also cautioned against being overly worried about the future: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34). 

Clearly our thoughts should be on what we can do today to serve others, follow the example of the Master, and invite all to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of the pain some people express late in life at not accomplishing everything they desired. He said: 

“When they looked back on their lives, they realized that they never lived up to their potential, that too many songs remained unsung.” 

Unfortunately, Elder Uchtdorf continued, our attention is often too focused on the mundane aspects of life. “Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and the transient?” 

May we each focus on the important work of letting our light shine, sharing our faith with others, and — like the cicadas — singing the song we were meant to sing. 

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Branch President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at