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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Testimony of Service

My day was pretty well in the crapper. I feel like I’m standing in a card house waiting for one card to fall and the whole rest of the house will come crumbling down below it. Work is overwhelming right now. My personal life isn’t where I would like it to be (by choice oddly enough). I’ve got a lot of things moving and transitioning while trying to prepare for an unknown future.

Today seemed to be a collision of all things overwhelming, work, personal and otherwise. Just couldn’t catch a break and my self-confidence which is generally pretty healthy, was seemingly absent.

At work, we adopted 2 families and we had to do the last minute shopping for one of the families before making the drop. I’m not one for patience so this became an exercise in traipsing around the city for 3 miles (not an exaggeration) in high heels while trying to decide what to spend a significant amount of money on. While we were shopping I was thinking a lot about the service mantra about how service to others makes one self feel good (my poor paraphrase). In full disclosure, I was not feeling good about this service. I was in fact beginning to question why I had volunteered to help organize this deal. I had so much waiting for me at my desk and at home that I couldn’t find joy in shopping for these families.

After we wrapped up shopping we headed out to deliver our bounty. I really didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you, there could not be a more amazing and deserving family than the one we met last night. This strong infantry soldier man stood stoically, grateful and speechless and the demonstration of kindness from the members of our firm. The wife, normally a chatterbox, couldn’t find the words that she felt might be appropriate enough. Their oldest son was the most polite and kind spirit you will ever meet. Dad took the 2 youngest kids inside so that they might not see the bikes that would soon be under their Christmas tree. We gave them toys, art supplies, clothes, shoes, gift certificates, Christmas dinner, family movies and alike. Their car was brimming with goods.

There are moments that come along when you know that you were in the right place when you needed it the most. After a pretty defeating day, my heart nearly bubbled over with joy when we were able to give these families a Christmas they wouldn’t have otherwise had. This was a perfectly timed experience.

I was reminded of a quote I recently heard that President Utchdorf said that reads as follows, “In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.”

The family we delivered the gifts and Christmas dinner to tonight told us we were the answers to their prayers. The told us that we could never have known how much we helped them this holiday season. They were literally speechless. And this could very well be true, we may never know how great of relief we provided, and that is ok. I think that’s how its suppose to. The degree of impact is almost irrelevant, because what really matters was that there was even an impact at all.

After a day of defeat juxtaposed with the bright spot of joy, I wondered what do I do from here? I guess we just pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. Always move forward. While we move, may we have to awareness and foresight to see where we can be answers to other people’s prayers and everything else will fall into place. I have to believe that. If I don’t I might as well just quit right now. And that, I refuse to do.

As I go on this journey, I am beyond grateful to be surrounded by friends who will treat you to a classy TT (vegan) dinner, served on a paper plate, no less. I hope in your less than stellar moments, you surround yourself with people who can listen and not pretend to have all the answers, but rather recognize the struggle and validate your feelings as normal – not just one station away from boarding the crazy-train. Surround yourself with people who can make you laugh one minute and wallow with you the next. Because if we’re going to go through this life, we might as well do it together and laughing.


MK said...

you've got it, girl! i feel so thankful to be a person who gets to laugh and go through this life with you! xoxo

stephanielynn said...

If you're boarding the crazy train, then I'm right there with you. So at least there's that...

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