Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Worth of One Soul

My husband is sick. In our own little family this is enough to set everyone into a tizzy. He rarely gets sick, and definitely not with fever chills and body aches. He even opted to stay home from church today - also a rare occurrence.

In and of itself this may not seem like a big deal, but my husband is not just your ordinary church-goer (if there is such a thing as an ordinary church-goer). You see, he is a bishop over a ward in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church). He is the figurative father of a local congregation, or ward. He is their spiritual leader. And today he was greatly missed.

As news of his nasty sickness spread throughout the meeting person after person came up to ask me about him. Was he okay? How was he feeling? Was there anything they could do? Wish after wish for a speedy recovery was pressed upon me to pass along to him. Much love was expressed, and promises of prayers being offered in his behalf. Even as my heart grew warm with the utter love and concern shown for him, I knew there was no way even I - a self-proclaimed artist with words - would be able to let him know just how much he was missed, and how much the people he has served over the last four years loved him.

One person. Just one person has had an amazing effect on a group of people. I began to think throughout the day about how precious a single individual can be to another, especially as that was what our lesson in young women's was on today. What are we doing to personally enrich the lives of those around us, to make that relationship between ourselves and those with whom we come in contact a little more meaningful.

My husband is extremely service oriented. If someone is in need he is the first one to jump up and say, "I will help." At times I worry he doesn't know how to say no, but over the years I have recognized in him a need to never look back and say, "I should have..." I honestly believe that is why he's so sick today - his body simply couldn't keep up with his willing heart.

When we serve those around us there becomes a softening in the relationship, for we are putting our needs away for a time to focus instead of another soul in need. It is one of the ultimate ways for us to truly come to know Christ and how He lived His life, for there is no better example of loving service than that of our Savior.

My husband has learned to be a fantastic listener. He knows when to offer advice and when someone simply needs to talk. He has learned to approach people he doesn't know and welcome them with open arms. He has been a shoulder to cry on, an arm upon which others lean, and a trusted voice of reason. His hands have joined others in giving blessings to those who are sick or otherwise afflicted, those who mourn, and those who simply need words of guidance and comfort from their Heavenly Father. He is loved by those he has served in ways he will never comprehend.

Of course, were a person to say any of this to his face, he would deny it all, unable to see what good he has done. As we all tend to do with ourselves, he constantly berates himself for never doing enough, for never being enough, and for looking more on negatives than positives. And at times this idea makes him try to be every thing to every body, which means he burns out - like today. For myself, though I hate to see him sick, I am grateful it forces him to stop and focus on himself and his need to rest. This same sentiment was echoed many times over today by different members of his congregation.

I know the difference this wonderful man has made in the lives of others, even if he doesn't always see it himself. I even know there are those out there who love me more than words can say. I also know it is because of the love we try to give in various ways that we receive this love back. We are not perfect, not by any means, but we keep trying.

I ask for you to take some time out of incredibly busy schedules, find just one person, and begin to express your love for them in little ways. Pray for them. Pray for ways of expressing love to be shown to you. Write a friend a little note saying what you admire about him/her. Do the dishes for your mom. Take the trash out for your dad. Make your husband's favorite dinner. Offer to take your wife out so she doesn't have to cook. Spend some quality time reading a book with your child. The possibilities are endless.

I love my husband. I am grateful he is taking time out to sleep today, to rest and recover. I also hope he'll get better fast, for I know what a crazy few weeks he has with work and church. I am incredibly proud of the man he is, for his willingness to serve both our family and our ward family. He constantly reminds me of what I need to do to be a better person, even if I do it whining a lot of the way. I only hope one day he will be able to know how much the love he has given is returned.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Please pass our get-well wishes on to David for us: "Get well soon, David. We love you!"