I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Way to Serve Your Fellow Beings

[a personal email sent on August 20, 2007 to various friends and family]

We had a really good Sacrament meeting yesterday. The speakers were assigned Mosiah 18:9. All 3 made some very good comments and insights. I especially liked the last speaker, Nick, from the first floor. He is a nice young man. He said many things that I needed to hear. He quoted a talk by Joy Evans (former RS Counselor). In it there were things that stood out to me and helped me realize something that has bothered me for quite some time. Now, I guess you could say I feel justified for the fact that I never know how to answer "What can I do?" or "How can I help?"

I've never been able to answer those questions because I myself really don't know. The offers from others have always been kind. But honestly, what can they do? Can they give me a new heart when mine is causing so much pain? Can they enfuse me with iron so I do not unexpectedly run out of energy at odd times of the day and then end up looking lazy because all I do is lay around? Can they fix the broken me, healing every part that keeps shutting down or malfunctioning. Can they "strengthen [my] feeble knees" so I can "run and not be weary, and...walk and not faint?" Can they take the overwhelming decisions in my life and tell me which ones are the best choices? No one can help me with any of that except the Savior. And even then He can only give me understanding, comfort, and guidance. My life is as it is for a reason, and I have and will continue to get by as I have always done. There will be no new heart, new knees, new lungs, or anything else. There will be no one to make my decisions because it is my responsibility and my free agency. It is my job to live my life, and I have no problem with that.

It has greatly upset me to have so many people offer to help--wonderful friends like all of you--and yet I can't think of ways that they could serve me. it makes me feel like the bad person. But Nick's talk made me understand that I'm not bad. I'm in need but, like most people, have no idea how others could help. It is up to those who want to serve to figure out how to serve. This, of course, was a good 2-part lesson for me. For it not only gave me comfort, but has helped me see that I need to look out for how I can serve. That I need to stop asking and just start doing. So, I thought I would share that. I hope it can help us all be better instruments in the Lord's hands.

Sister Joy F. Evans:
They remember the counsel given us by a prophet that "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom." (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Dec. 1974, p. 5.)

Many times people do nothing in such a situation simply because they do not know what to do. They are afraid of intruding or of saying the wrong thing. Perhaps they do not know how to relate to a dying person or to the family. They may feel emotions of anger, sadness, or confusion. Nevertheless, even they can find many ways to help.

One woman tells the story of a tragedy she experienced when five of her close family members from another state were killed in a fiery automobile accident. She herself was struggling to absorb the news, trying to pack for her own little family to leave the following day for the funeral. A good friend and neighbor arrived at her door with the announcement that he had come to clean their shoes. She had not even thought about shoes.

He knelt on their kitchen floor with a pan of soapy water, a sponge, shoe polish, and a brush and soon had everyday shoes and Sunday shoes gleaming and spotless. He quietly slipped away when he finished, leaving the shoes ready to pack; even the soles were washed.

The mother says, "Now whenever I hear of an acquaintance who has lost a loved one, I no longer call with the vague offer, 'If there's anything I can do …' Now I try to think of one specific task that suits that person's need—such as washing the family car, taking the dog to the boarding kennel, or house-sitting during the funeral. And if the person says to me, 'How did you know I needed that done?' I reply, 'It's because a man once cleaned my shoes.' " (Madge Harrah, "He Cleaned Our Shoes," Reader's Digest, Dec. 1983, pp. 21–24.)

Helping others through a time of special challenge requires understanding and patience….[They] might be irritable, depressed, quiet, or withdrawn, but through kindness and friendship, he or she will almost always recover.

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