One of my favorite stories from the Bible is that of the widow’s mite. There was a great woman who had little, but gave everything. Most of the time we think of this story as a financial parable. However, today I would like to take a different perspective in honor of Mother’s Day. There are two women in my life that I feel have given just as this dear biblical heroine did. The lessons that I have learned from them are similar to the lesson I learned from the scriptures. They rejoined the single life, at least for now, as they became widows. They have a tremendous amount of wisdom to offer us. From each of their lives I share only two of the lessons I learned.
When I was 16 years old my father passed away very suddenly after a routine foot surgery. While it shocked our entire family, I am confident that none was more stunned than my dear mother. There she was with 3 teenagers at home to support financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Now, she was to do it without the help of her dear companion.
Every day my mother would wake up very early and travel 30 minutes to get to her job by 7:30 am. She would work all day with other people’s children and then come home to the three of us. She was tired, but she gave love by listening to our complaints about homework, helping to prepare meals, and keeping up with the house. At one point she went back to school and added studies and homework to her to do list. Her burden seemed extremely heavy to bear. It truly took all of her might to make it through each day. What she may not realize is the number of lessons I learned from her at this time in her life.
When things would come up that she couldn’t handle, or when she was too tired to continue I would watch as she knelt at her bed side and pleaded with the Lord for the help and strength to keep going. The lesson I learned was that our real companion is God. When we allow Him to help us in our daily lives we are never really alone. We can truly talk with someone who really does listen.
Second, you cannot give water from an empty well. Even with her load so big, Mom worried most about her children. She put us first. There were times when she had nothing more to give. Her strength was spent. Mom learned when it was time to take a break and do something that she enjoyed. Reading a book was her usual first choice. Even if just for a few minutes each day, she would lose herself in the stories and dreams of others. She always had a book handy. (To this day, each of her children love to read.)
Later on in the same year I watched another Widow’s Might kick into action. After several years of faithfully caring for my grandfather who had dementia, my grandmother also found herself separated from her companion. There she was, at home alone, probably with more time to herself then she knew what to do with. So what did she do? She kicked into action. I watched as my grandmother continued her service to any and all she came across. Her whole life she had been devoted to her family. She still is, but now she extended her definition of family even farther.
The other day some people at her retirement community needed some help. A woman needed to go to an appointment and didn’t feel comfortable leaving her husband alone. Though grandma has her own health concerns and is the spry young age of 92, she took on the challenge. What she walked into was more than she bargained for, but she gave her all even when the tasks she was called upon to fulfill were bigger than she was. To me, the lesson here is forget yourself and go to work! There is great good to be done. We can’t do everything, but we can all do something to make this world a better place.
One other example of those somethings we can do is to say thank you as often as possible. Every day, my grandmother makes a list of people that have done anything for her at all. It can be a simple hug, or smile, or ride to the store, but if you serve her in any way she notices. Not only that, but she lets you know how much it means to her. Being thankful for her blessings seems to help her focus on the good parts of life and the many ways that God has blessed her.
As a single adult I think that these four lessons are ones that we can all apply to make us happier and better members of families, wards, and society at large. We can create the single’s might by remembering our real companion is God, taking time to fill our well, forgetting ourselves and going to work, and remembering to be thankful. We do not know yet what we in our lives will be called upon to bear, but we learn from these three widows that when we give our all, the Lord can magnify it into a miracle.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.