This last weekend, our family snuggled in pajamas and blankets as we curled up to watch General Conference, to hear the words of the living prophets—it is one of our favorite family traditions EVER! We clear the weekend of plans and we watch every session together.
As we listened to our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, speak—I wept. Tears of joy at the confirming words he spoke, which turned to tears of sorrow as I watched a spiritual giant struggle in the confines of a mortal and weakening body. I would have given anything to be there by his side, supporting him and holding him as he continues to move our Lord’s kingdom forward. Since mine is not to be by his side, I need to focus on sustaining him by living his counsels.
“We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see. Each of us came to earth having been given the Light of Christ. As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others.”
President Monson then went through six attributes of a disciple, as discussed by the apostle Paul. As he did so, I realized that I have been learning these lessons through this blog challenge to be like the Good Samaritan.
Attributes 1 & 2: BEING AN EXAMPLE IN WORD AND IN CONVERSATION
“The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean. Let us speak to others with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend. May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.”
Everyone wants a place where they feel loved and safe. Our conversations should offer that to those around us—a place of sanctuary. Especially as followers of Christ, we should be ever-watchful that our words are not hurtful. As you know, I’ve learned to really listen to my friends lately, and I’ve been amazed at how healing simply listening during a conversation can be. How non-judgemental listening offers a respite from a world quick to find fault.
Attributes 3 & 4 : CHARITY, THE PURE LOVE OF CHRIST; SPIRIT
“I am confident there are within our sphere of influence those who are lonely, those who are ill, and those who feel discouraged. Ours is the opportunity to help them and to lift their spirits. The Savior brought hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. … Throughout His ministry He reached out in charity to any in need. As we emulate His example, we will bless lives, including our own.”
“[W]e strive to have in our lives kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and goodwill. These qualities will provide for us a spirit which will touch the lives of those around us.”
The Sunday before last, as I was walking down the hallway at Church, one of my friends approached me and pleaded, “Is there ANY way you could watch my two youngest for a couple of hours? I know how busy you are, but I could use a break, even if it’s just for an hour.” Later, we coordinated me coming to get her kids for a park playdate on Tuesday. Now, I know what I said earlier about not scheduling service; however, this was not something I had planned on, rather a chance to squeeze some service into my week. (I don’t visit teach her either, so this wasn’t “assigned service”!)
I cleared my afternoon, so I could give my friend a 3 hour break, not much in the grand scheme of things—3 hours.
When I came to pick up Kyle and Karlie for our afternoon together, I visited with their Mom for a few minutes that grew to half an hour as she shared how very overwhelmed she has been feeling with a calling as Primary President, a husband working long hours and trying to finish his college degree, and running a household with 3 children.
After our visit, I packed up the kids and we headed to the park. As the kids ran and played, I sat enjoying watching them tumble about … and my phone rang. Caller ID identified the caller as someone who likes to complain … a LOT. I usually try to avoid her calls; however, I had set aside this time as the Lord’s to serve Him and the kids were happily playing. I answered, she shared her burdens with me, and I listened. (See how often this trait is being used by the Lord?)
Normally, I would have found a reason to get off the phone; instead, this time, I listened and showed compassion and empathy and didn’t try to rush her off the phone. As I acted with love, I began to feel love. I began to feel the weight of her burdens and how hard they were for her to carry. I began to feel a closer sense of sisterhood. After about an hour and a half on the phone, we hung up with expressions of love on both sides, then I herded the kids for a stop at the local library.
I go to the library a LOT! All four of my kids and I are very well known at the library—let’s just say that we are bona-fide bibliophiles! So when the librarian saw me there with kids that were much younger than my own—she came over to investigate. She was kind and sweet, but obviously feeling very sad. I still had some time left, and the children were happily playing with the toys there, so I asked her why she seemed sad. She shared, and her frustration, hurt, and anger came pouring out—all I could offer was a listening ear. Again, it was what was needed.
We are asked to reach “out in charity to any in need.” I gave the Lord 3 hours of my week to do with as He chose fit and He allowed me the opportunity to serve three women who needed something I could give—acceptance and love.
Attributes 5 & 6: FAITH; PURITY OF HEART
“To be an example of faith means that we trust in the Lord and in His word. It means that we possess and that we nourish the beliefs that will guide our thoughts and our actions.”
We need to be more consciously living our beliefs—I have learned that so deeply through this journey of trying to live like the Good Samaritan. We need to make an effort—the wounded souls are there, waiting and needing us—do we have the faith to trust that in our busy lives, the Lord will make a way for us to do more of what we should be doing?
“Our minds should be filled with uplifting and ennobling thoughts and kept free from those things which will pollute. In order to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we must be worthy. Brothers and sisters, purity will bring us peace of mind and will qualify us to receive the Savior’s promises. Said He, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’”
I want to someday see my Savior. For now, I want … no, I need the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. To prevent me from stumbling in my own weakness, to help me be more and better than I am on my own … I need the Holy Ghost’s presence in my heart. If constantly turning my mind to God is the way to make this happen, I can do that.
Let us set aside time for the Lord to use us. Let us really love and listen to those around us.
Let me end with the words of our beloved prophet, President Monson, as each of us continues on, striving to help the wounded on the Road to Jericho:
“My brothers and sisters, our opportunities to shine surround us each day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others, whether they be our own family members and friends, our co-workers, mere acquaintances, or total strangers.”
*For President Monson’s complete talk, please visit:
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.