My daughter at Brigham Young University in Idaho (BYU-I) gave me a book last month right before she left to serve her mission. This book changed the perspective of my thinking as it told the story of a man who, as a result of debilitating health problems, passed to the other side of the veil (Spirit World) for a time and then came back. Time and time again the message he learned while there was how important it is to serve each other. Not just in the community but also to our own immediate family.
I have come to learn over the years that God gets his work accomplished through other people. We are all angels to each other in helping along in this life and when the chips are down or we experience a trial, others within our family or close friends can help.
Service to others doesn’t have to be a whole day affair; it can be a helpful hand opening a door, a smile, (especially if they are experiencing trials) a listening ear, an “I care” card for the downtrodden. Mow a neighbor’s lawn, offer your seat on the bus and pick up trash where you live. There are a number of simple things to do for others besides a more time consuming service such as bringing baked goods to work or hosting a homeless person at your house.
Doing service as a family also helps families grow closer together. Last year one of the Scouts in our troop planned an Eagle Scout project of helping Billion graves.com (http://billiongraves.com/) contribute four more cemeteries to their data base. We started early in the morning and took pictures and downloaded them onto the website. What a fun experience it was. Our whole family went and we not only added pictures of graves but we cleaned off the gravesites as well so others can see who is buried there.
As families help each other through difficulties or just life in general, we provide a service to them. Life begins and ends in service. President Spencer W. Kimball, past church leader from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, whose members are sometimes called Mormons, said, “Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world.
It is by serving that we learn to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective.”
Simple acts of kindness or service to others helps life to run smoother and lifts each other, especially in times of trial.
A song from church reminds me of this idea. “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there? Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above. Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and love.” (Hymnal for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints- page 223)
It is a blessing of duty and love, a love which extends far into the lives of others you won’t even realize received it and then returns to us: a love of mankind.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.