Saturday, November 15, 2008

Little Sisters


Welcome to the weekend!

This weekend, I joined Facebook. I never thought I would. In fact, I had avoided it, and other large social networks like the plague. But you know what?

I’m glad I did.

I’ve been thinking about a group of people from my recent past who have really made an impact on my life. These were young women I’d met over the course of a couple of years, 2003-2004, at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

Each of these young ladies, from nearly every part of the earth, volunteered their time, their talents and lives to spend 18 months to travel to Utah to do something very special.

They were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

At the time I met them, I was at a point in my life where I sorely needed direction. I had spent years battling addictions of all kinds and was just sort of wandering and surviving life.

I lived with my parents, and though I was helping take care of my aged mother, I was doing nothing else to benefit humanity.

I was a taker.

One morning, I found myself wandering downtown Salt Lake City. I was headed to my favorite coffee shop, and for some reason, ended up on Temple Square.

A couple of young women, Sister Ross and Sister Johnson, asked if I would like to take a tour. Having grown up in the area, I was well familiar with the history of the LDS Church and had been to Temple Square many times before.

They kindly persisted and I accepted their invitation.

That tour marked the beginning of a wonderful journey for me.

These young women, relying on their own experiences, but much more on the Spirit of God, taught me many things that have literally changed me, changed my heart and changed my life.

I learned about Jesus Christ – that He was so much more than a wise man or teacher. I learned that He is His Father’s most beloved Son. I learned of His miracles, His compassion, mercy and grace.

I learned that by accepting Him and following Him, I could overcome all the problems and addictions and frustrations that I was immersed in.

From these beautiful missionaries – who I now affectionately refer to as my little sisters, I learned that my life has a purpose. I learned that I am literally a child of God.

I learned that my Father in Heaven is not a God of retribution and meanness. I learned that He is a hands-on parent. I learned that He could and would guide and direct my life with kindness, gentleness and fairness.

My heart softened.

My mind opened.

My life changed.

Some of these young women may feel that they really didn’t do anything to help me. They may feel that they didn’t have much of an impact on changing my life.

I suspect that those who feel this way may not remember that some of us are asked to plant the seed, while others will be asked to nurture the seedling and yet others will be asked to harvest.

Each stage was critical to me. Each one was a part of this new and wonderful change inside of me that has brought me true and lasting peace and happiness.

I am a better man for having met them.

So, what does all this have to do with Service – the Action Form of Love?

Here’s today’s challenge:

For most of us, there is someone who has affected our life for the better.

They have taught us something profound.

They have rescued us.

They have loved us despite our being unlovable.

This weekend, find a way to reach out to them and thank them.

Tell them something specific they did to help you.

You can either do this anonymously, by sending a note in the mail and leaving off your name and return address, or you can call or email them or visit them.

But do it.

They deserve to know how much what they’ve done means to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s challenge. Thank you for taking the challenge, too.

I appreciate you.

Please pass it on, and remember…

Service is the Action Form of Love.

James

3 comments:

Louise said...

I'v been reading this blog for several months now and the call to service is something I find very noble. Today my call came. It is my day off and yet I awoke to the phone ringing. It was work asking me to come in. Now on your day off the last person you want to hear from is your job..esp. asking you to come in..Then as I listened more I heard how my co-workers fiance had needed emergency surgery last night and for today is in ICU. She merely needed surgery on her back but once opened up the doctors found that she had fluid leaking from her intestines into her system. Today she is in critical condition. Then I thought back to this blog and how I've read about serving others. It gave me the warm feeling I'd read about and I knew I had done the right thing. During the day my co-worker had called to give us an update on her condition. She is not doing well at all. He was so distraught and concerned about leaving us to cover his shifts indefinetly. I told him not to worry about anything and I would personally volunteer to cover all his shifts.

While I was working on my twitter updates and my webpage. The words of this service blog came flooding back in and the call to service.. I knew I had helped one person today and possibly two. The person though that received the most from all of this was me. The gift of giving and serving is the greatest ever. Thank you for keeping this blog so inspirational. I'll keep reading and I do hope that everyone who reads the blog will always keep the gift of service in their hearts.

James H said...

What a beautiful, personal comment, Louise. I'm so glad you were there when the call of duty came. We often never know until after we've acted in service how much that act of service means.

Thank you also for your kind words. Knowing that you've been a reader as long as you have, and knowing your gentle heart gives me great hopes that others, too, will accept the challenge to serve.

God bless you.

James

gramee said...

james,
i have read and read, i am going to pass your blog on to my friends and family..
i can't go back to the start and begin..(like i would love to do) so i just wrote some of the services down to do extra during the holidays..
and will start from now following and doing the service you suggest or if i can't do just that adapt for me..
thanks for this wonderful blog.