[a bit of back story into today's writing...]
I've been a little weepy this week.
Our first graduation announcement arrived the other day. I knew it was coming because Tiff, with her wonderfully sensitive and caring heart, had asked if Max could send one or if it would be too painful. How grateful I am for friends who continue to carry our hearts in such personal and thoughtful ways.
Even with the advance notice, I have to admit, opening that announcement was bittersweet. It opened a whole new level of grief to be dealt with. And that's okay. It needed to happen. And now it's open and we can begin to heal that level.
Yesterday, selfishly, I ran away for a while.
I went to the craft expo in Sandy.
All alone. A long time in the quiet car.
Feeling defeated and sad.
On the way home, I needed to stop at WinCo to grab a couple of things. I missed the exit and had to take the next exit, backtracking several miles. I was frustrated because I was ready to be home.
Little did I know then that I was being placed exactly in a position to recognize Heavenly Father's hand in my life as He gave me an opportunity to serve.
I wandered the store, grabbing what we needed. And a few extras of course.
As I approached the checkout, I chose a line that had one gentleman in line with just a few groceries. Some bananas, some bread, and a few other things. Necessity things. The cashier scanned the gentleman's items and told him the total [$21.28] as I unloaded my very full cart onto the belt.
The gentleman swiped his card. It was declined.
Embarrassed, he swiped another. It was also declined.
He opened his wallet and several cards fell to the floor.
He asked the cashier to take the bananas and bread off his total.
He tried another card. And another. Both declined.
His hands shook as he tried to put the cards back into his wallet.
He was ashamed. Hurt.
Ready to give up and walk away without his groceries.
Suddenly, I felt myself being pushed forward [pretty sure Kenton had been standing there all along just waiting for me to step up on my own, and when I didn't, he gave me a little push!], opening my wallet, and hearing myself say, "Please add the bananas and bread back to his order. Sir, please may I pay for your groceries today?"
With tears streaming down his weathered cheeks, he humbly nodded and stepped aside so I could swipe my card. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized then that I had been given that moment to minister to someone. To step outside myself and share the love of our Savior with someone in need.
As this kind gentleman bagged his groceries, he did so with a smile on his face and tears still in his eyes. He thanked me profusely, again, took his bags, and left. I paid for my groceries and began to bag them. The lady behind me put her hand on my arm and said, "Thank you for reminding me how important it is to be kind. You have inspired me to do something for someone today. That was very touching."
I don't share this story as a "look at me" moment. I would rather not share. But I also do not want to forget.
Today during ward conference, and again at standards night, President Acevedo gave us some direction to help us get closer to our Savior.
He said, "Each morning ask God to put you in someone's path to minister to them."
And each night we should write down the moment we recognized Heavenly Father directing our service.
I am looking forward to following President's counsel. I know that in doing so I will be able to work through this new level of grief without getting lost in my own sadness.
A few weeks ago at another ward conference, President said, "We are given many promises, but the storms don't always stop. The enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is to give us the ability to go on through our trials, to make us like Him by giving us the strength to overcome."
I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to serve yesterday. President Acevedo said, "It is a privilege and duty to lift and to serve others. When we're serving someone else, it's REALLY hard to think about ourselves."
That service I was called to give was simple. It was profound. It reminded me that Heavenly Father is acutely aware of each of us. And he often uses us to answer prayers, spoken and unspoken, of those around us.
"What we think is what we become. What we do is who we are. Choose to be armed with power."