“We each affect those around us, people we love, our neighbors, co-workers, or even total strangers. It might be a deliberate act of kindness or just a smile and a friendly word. Or it could be just singing your heart out. And in most cases, you will never know whom you have touched and how.”
Mormon Tabernacle member, C. David Belt had no idea that his tear-streaked face would touch so many as he sang with his fellow choir members a beautiful rendition of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing this last weekend; but in the follow-up interview, his words struck a chord with me and caused me to ponder in my heart.
A few years ago, my son met a young woman who became a dear friend to him. Marie is kind and sweet. She will quietly sit and allow others to take the spotlight, content to laugh and clap from the sidelines. If you can coax a smile from her, it is a precious gift—one that lightens your heart and makes you feel like she just thinks you are so amazing!
As their friendship grew over the years, she became a friend to me also—her gentle spirit emanates a peacefulness that I really enjoy being around. I enjoy our texting conversations and occasionally, I’ll even interrupt one of the many Skyping sessions between Marie & my son. Although she and my son have gone on a couple of dates, theirs is more of a friendship of shared values than a romantic relationship.
Imagine my horror and sorrow when she tried to take her precious life a few weeks ago. The loss of this precious, precious young woman would have broken my heart. The fact that she tried frightens me, making me to want to wrap her in a hug so tight that she will never, ever again give up!
In the aftermath, as she has been in counseling—we learned the horrible truth of experiences of abuse that have broken her spirit and caused her to doubt her worth.
In our church’s hymnal, there is a song Lord, I Would Follow Thee with the words, “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.” Never would I have guessed that Marie’s gentle heart hid such painful agony and self-hatred.
As we have texted over these last few weeks, I have been struck again and again by how selfless Marie is—always asking me how I am doing, turning the conversation quickly to, “What’s good about today for u? ☺” … not that I let her get away with trying to avoid talking about hard stuff, but she just naturally wants to lighten MY burden, even when she is struggling with her own.
Why is that? I think it’s the same reason why I try to serve those around me. I think it’s the same reason Robin Williams said, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
You see, when you know what true loneliness is, without anyone except God in your corner—you will never want anyone else to ever carry that weight. So, you reach outside of yourself to lift someone else’s weight of sorrow, even when you are struggling to lift your own. Thankfully, as I reach down to find the strength to help another, God lightens my own burdens in the process.
Marie’s sweet friendship is a tender gift to my life and I am grateful that she is still here to continue to bless those around her with her own unique gifts and talents.
Each of us needs others to reach out, to care, to listen, to laugh, to cry—to BE there.
No one is worthless. Each and every one has value and a precious gift to offer the rest of us lucky enough to be in your sphere. Let down your walls. Let someone in. Be vulnerable. Be quirky. Be fearless and take courage to simply be yourself, warts and all. The world needs YOU—imperfections, quirkiness and all!
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.