Sunday, January 10, 2010

In The Thick of Thick Things

One of my New Year resolutions was to do a good deed everyday. Before 2010 even started I was getting into gear and thinking about this goal. I had pondered the words of President Thomas S. Monson when he said:

"I am confident it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. At baptism we covenanted to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that “oh, surely someone will take care of that need.”

We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes."

My life has been very busy and I was hurrying to Costco while I had an opportunity. There were so many people at my house for the Christmas/New Year holiday. Shopping for food was a definite priority.

As I walked briskly through the parking lot heading toward the store entrance, I saw a very elderly couple. They were carefully walking toward their car that was parked in the first handicap space of the row I was hurrying down. The man, though tall and large in stature, no doubt very virile in his day, was walking with a walker. His shorter wife, obviously just as unable bodied, pushed their shopping cart, maneuvering it to the rear of their car. The trunk popped open and the thought crossed my mind, "There is someone that could use some help."

I observed the man letting go of his walker and turning to lift a rather large box from their shopping cart. I ignored my previous thought and told myself, "Surely they will be okay."

I quickly trotted passed and then abruptly stopped myself thinking, "Here I claimed I wanted to be of service to people in a greater way. I have obviously seen a need and have been prompted to help and I'm ignoring it!"

I was in disbelief at my behavior. I immediately did a 180 and quickly returned to the couple. The elderly gentleman was carefully placing the box of groceries in his trunk, but with a bit of a drop and an audible “Kerplunk!" I commented, "You know, I saw you here with your walker and thought, 'maybe you could use some help?'"

His wife smiled and he replied, "Well, I think I've got it already," as he straightened up, trying to look more sturdy than he was.

He had definitely loaded the heaviest part of his purchase, there was no doubt about it.  I quickly said, "I believe you can do this." I then grabbed some other items in their cart and then continued with my plea, "But please, let me finish loading the rest of your items."

With smiles they watched as I strategically loaded the rest of their purchase. The woman was obviously delighted with my kindness. They were both happy, pleased, and thanked me.

I smiled and nodded my acknowledgement of their gratitude, but little did they know, I was the grateful one. The Spirit was still filling me like rushing water as I turned and headed toward the store. I was so happy and pleased with my little gesture, especially because of the understanding that came; that's what Heavenly Father really wanted me to know.  It was so obvious that my doings were literally a reenactment of President Monson's words. I intended to be of service, but I was letting it go in the name of being busy with my own family responsibilities. My family is certainly important, but my helpfulness took less than a minute if thirty seconds.

How grateful I was for my "about face" recognition of it all and my quick march that brought me into participating in a service that used very little time and yet resulted in the biggest of dividends. The Spirit filled me. The Spirit taught me. How shallow I was, and yet, I got the kick start I needed to proceed into the new year of  listening to the Spirit more, of serving more, of loving more, of being in the "thick of [thick] things".


  1. I have had a similar experience and it is amazing how good you feel when you take the time to do a small act of kindness for someone else. It puts spring into your step. I am sure that couple had a better day also because of what you did! Great story! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Martha, I just LOVE you! Thanks for all your wonderful posts that provoke thought and give me inspiration. Wish we were still all together in the Juniper Ward! We miss you and your family greatly.

  3. I feel like I have been filled just by reading this. Thanks for the uplifting post.