This afternoon a friend of mine left a bag hanging on my back door knob. Inside the bag was a beautiful head of home grown cabbage from her garden. That thing had to weigh ten pounds, at least! Daddy usually has a big cabbage or two for me, but not this year. My friend stepped in and took care of it, though. She thought of me and took the time to deliver it right to my door. I couldn't help but grin at my plan to make enough of my Mama's recipe for Marinated Slaw to share with her. She's gonna love it!
Doing nice things for others makes me feel wonderfully alive. It makes me smile from the inside out. (I can't imagine what it will be like when I am no longer able to go and do....) When others take the time to think of me and my family, it also makes me feel loved, like delivering a big fat cabbage -- just because!
A memorable lesson from my Mama was to look around you and notice that there is always someone having a harder time of it. It's true. As I sit and type, I can think of so many of my friends who are struggling with the loss of a child, unemployment, a sick baby in the hospital, home foreclosures, repossessed transportation, devastating illnesses, loneliness that comes from bodies aging faster than the mind can comprehend, and on and on and on.
Marjorie Hinckley once said, "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Just think about that for a minute or so.....
There are healing qualities in service that extend to the giver and the receiver. When I can look outward as I'm hurting, and offer an act of kindness, I forget or let go of some of the pain, even if only for a little while. It doesn't have to be anything huge. The acts of service I remember the most have been those given in small increments, and come at the best possible times, when they have been truly needed, and offered with a genuine interest in my well-being.
A past leader of our Church wrote: "Almost anyone can inflict a wound. It may be made by a word, a slight, or by general conduct. But the healing of a wound is an art not acquired by practice alone, but by the loving tenderness that comes from universal good will and a sympathetic interest in the welfare and happiness of others. If people were always as ready to administer kindness as they are indifferent to the pain of others—if they were as patient to heal as they are quick to wound—many an unkind word would never be spoken, many a slight would be avoided. The art of healing is really one of the highest qualities and attributes of man; it is a characteristic of a great and noble soul; the sure indication of generous impulse." --- Joseph F. Smith
I borrowed a phrase from someone a long time ago that goes like this: "Hands are for helping, not for hurting." I've learned from past experiences that wounds leave scars; helping avoids them.
I sure hope I live long enough to develop the "characteristic of a great and noble soul" that comes from learning and using "the art of healing," every day of my life.