Today's Sacrament Meeting was very uplifting. I SO needed something uplifting after yesterday. Derek's mom, Kelly, gave a GREAT talk on service. I was inspired by a story she told about a friend of hers that called her up one day and asked her to come help deliver some cookies. When Kelly got to her friend's house, her island was covered with tons of cookies with pumpkin-orange frosting. Kelly asked her why so many and her friend simply told her that she was feeling down or sad and giving service to others was the way she was able to bring herself out of it. Kelly told of how they tried to be sneaky so people wouldn't know who left the cookies and by the time they were done, her friend was laughing and smiling. I thought DEEPLY about this. She then shared the words from the hymn, "Have I Done Any Good":
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?
First, I thought about how I sometimes use my schedule at work and in life as an excuse to get out of helping others. I shouldn't do this. Giving service is honorable and helps us see past our own problems. I have really been trying to focus on this lately as I do my visiting teaching. Is there something I can truly do to SERVE my sisters? I always sort of cringe when visiting teachers ask me that because I often feel it's not heartfelt or asked with true intent. I never want the sisters I visit teach to feel that of my offer. I want them to know it's sincere and heartfelt.
Next, I thought about how this topic of service was so relevant to today's meeting. Here is a young man, only 19 years old, heading out into the world to serve the Lord, first and foremost, but also to serve others. Yes, he will miss his family. Yes, he will miss his friends. But, the right place for him to be right now is in Virginia serving those people and helping bring them to Christ.
After Kelly's talk, all of the men in the ward - from those that were 8 on up to 90, went up into the choir loft and sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth." Oh my. I started crying almost from the first note. The voices together were so powerful, ministering to those out in the congregation of the power of a mission, the power of the gospel, the power of the Lord. I saw Melon Man up there and thought about how he never really had the opportunity to go on a mission because he only joined the church when he was just 19 and was in the Air Force so he was already committed to that. I wondered if we, when we are in our 60s and 70s (well, Melon Man 70 and me a mere 58), will serve a couples mission or a service mission. I saw a young father with his son standing next to him both singing their hearts out. I saw the father's hand on his young son's shoulder ever so guidingly and was touched by that gentle show of love and leadership. I saw all races and ages, together, singing a song about serving the Lord. I saw men who I knew had been through different struggles in their lives, honoring their Priesthood, standing with their fellow brethren in song. Although not all of them had been on a mission, they sang with fervor and passion and spirit. They were proud of Derek for making this choice. I again looked at Melon Man and my heart just melted. I am so happy being married to a man who honors his priesthood, faithfully attends church EACH and EVERY Sunday, no matter what his week has been like, enforces that commitment in our family, ensures we are there in plenty of time to sit and meditate before the service starts or to quietly visit with other members, ensures our tithing is always paid, and believes in giving a generous fast offering.
Derek's talk was really good too. I have seen him grow and mature in the last 8 years, but more especially in the last 5 that he has been doing our yard. I will miss him. I always knew I could rely on him. His parents have taught him to work hard and that will come in handy in the mission field.
The closing song was "Because I Have Been Given Much." I love that song. But the words especially touched me today, especially the 3rd verse:
Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live.
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another's lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof's safe shelter overhead,
That he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I'll share thy love again, according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need;
I'll show that love by word and deed
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.
What beautiful words! The Lord has given me SO much and I am so GRATEFUL! But, I need to share all that he has given me with others. I need to work on this. I am giving, but I also grew up without a lot and sometimes I want to keep blessings to myself. What kind of honor is that to the Lord? He gives us all we have. It doesn't hurt us to give to others. I must get better at this!
The rest of the day was wonderful too. I was able to spend the afternoon with Melon Man. We had a very nice turkey dinner. Walmart had turkey breasts on sale for $0.50 a pound so we bought 5 and stuck 4 in the freezer. Guess I need to add that to my list of food storage items for this year!
What a truly great day. I'm glad it finally came.