I had a surgery back in August that has given me some quality reflection time. I have been writing down my thoughts and a couple friends encouraged me to share my thoughts with others who may enjoy reading my reflective thoughts, so here I am. I hope those who read my writings will enjoy them
Monday, December 30, 2013
Have I Done Any Good
I am reading a book about how the power of questions can enhance our relationship with our Heavenly Father and how they can enhance our scripture study. So starting 2014 I am going to post these questions for all to ponder and what they have made me think about and hopefully how they have helped me come closer to my Heavenly Father.
But to end 2013 here's our first question, "Have I done Any Good" this year:
there was a post made on Facebook about “Christians visiting the sick,
assisting the afflicted and lifting the hand.”
As I read that post a memory of my mom and poppers came into my
as a little girl seeing my mother zipping around the house cleaning and dusting
and humming the hymn,
“Have I Done Any Good?”
“Have I done any good in the world
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made
someone feel glad?
If not I have failed in-deed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and weary been helped
on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
memories of my mom and I taking some rolls to a sick friend, visiting the
widowed and assisting in any way we could to meet their needs. My mom realized:
"There are chances for work all around
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying
“Sometime I’ll try”
But go and do something today.
Tis noble of man to work and to give,
Love labor has merit alone;
Only he who does something is worthy
The world has no use for the drone."
nursing as a career, daily I am able to answer that subtle question,
“Have I done any good in the world
I am able to
answer with a resounding “YES.”
think of no greater tribute to my mother than answering her call to do “good in
the world today”.
October 2009 General
What Have I Done for Someone
Thomas S. Monson
of the Church
The needs of others
are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone.
beloved brothers and sisters, I greet you this morning with love in my heart
for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for each of you. I am grateful for the
privilege to stand before you, and I pray that I might effectively communicate
to you that which I have felt prompted to say.
few years ago I read an article written by Jack McConnell, MD. He grew up in
the hills of southwest Virginia in the United States as one of seven children
of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were
very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family
sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what
did you do for someone today?”1The children were
determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father
that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s
most valuable legacy, for thatexpectation and those words
inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they
grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner
desire to help others.
Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development
of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the
polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in
developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an
organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical
personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured.
Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into
60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is
a satisfaction in [his] life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement:
“In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in
Medicine than my patients have.”2There are now over 70
such clinics across the United States.
course, we can’t all be Dr. McConnells, establishing medical clinics to help
the poor; however, the needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do
something to help someone.
Apostle Paul admonished, “By love serve one another.”3Recall with me the
familiar words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon: “When ye are in the
service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”4
Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”5
believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to
others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for
themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those
who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save
the October 1963 general conference—the conference at which I was sustained as
a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—President David O. McKay made
this statement: “Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the
good of others.”6
we live side by side but do not communicate heart to heart. There are those
within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out,
“Is there no balm in Gilead?”7
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.”8How 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.”
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
years ago I heard a poem which has stayed with me, by which I have tried to
guide my life. It’s one of my favorites:
brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our
encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members,
friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the
earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon
each of us.
may lament: I can barely make it through each day, doing all that I need to do.
How can I provide service for others? What can I possibly do?
over a year ago, I was interviewed by the Church News prior to
my birthday. At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter asked what I
would consider the ideal gift that members worldwide could give to me. I
replied, “Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do
something for him or her.”10
was overwhelmed when this year for my birthday I received hundreds of cards and
letters from members of the Church around the world telling me how they had
fulfilled that birthday wish. The acts of service ranged from assembling
humanitarian kits to doing yard work.
and dozens of Primaries challenged the children to provide service, and then
those acts of service were recorded and sent to me. I must say that the methods
for recording them were creative. Many came in the form of pages put together
into various shapes and sizes of books. Some contained cards or pictures drawn
or colored by the children. One very creative Primary sent a large jar
containing hundreds of what they called “warm fuzzies,” each one representing
an act of service performed during the year by one of the children in the
Primary. I can only imagine the happiness these children experienced as they
told of their service and then placed a “warm fuzzy” in the jar.
share with you just a few of the countless notes contained in the many gifts I
received. One small child wrote, “My grandpa had a stroke, and I held his
hand.” From an 8-year-old girl: “My sister and I served my mom and family by
organizing and cleaning the toy closet. It took us a few hours and we had fun.
The best part was that we surprised my mom and made her happy because she
didn’t even ask us to do it.” An 11-year-old girl wrote: “There was a family in
my ward that did not have a lot of money. They have three little girls. The mom
and dad had to go somewhere, so I offered to watch the three girls. The dad was
just about to hand me a $5 bill. I said, ‘I can’t take [it].’ My service was
that I watched the girls for free.” A Primary child in Mongolia wrote that he
had brought in water from the well so his mother would not have to do so. From
a 4-year-old boy, no doubt written by a Primary teacher: “My dad is gone for
army training for a few weeks. My special job is to give my mom hugs and
kisses.” Wrote a 9-year-old girl: “I picked strawberries for my great-grandma.
I felt good inside!” And another: “I played with a lonely kid.”
an 11-year-old boy: “I went to a lady’s house and asked her questions and sang
her a song. It felt good to visit her. She was happy because she never gets visitors.”
Reading this particular note reminded me of words penned long ago by Elder
Richard L. Evans of the Quorum of the Twelve. Said he: “It is difficult for
those who are young to understand the loneliness that comes when life changes
from a time of preparation and performance to a time of putting things away. …
To be so long the center of a home, so much sought after, and then, almost
suddenly to be on the sidelines watching the procession pass by—this is living
into loneliness. … We have to live a long time to learn how empty a room can be
that is filled only with furniture. It takes someone … beyond mere hired
service, beyond institutional care or professional duty, to thaw out the
memories of the past and keep them warmly living in the present. … We cannot
bring them back the morning hours of youth. But we can help them live in the
warm glow of a sunset made more beautiful by our thoughtfulness … and unfeigned
birthday cards and notes came also from teenagers in Young Men and Young Women
classes who made blankets for hospitals, served in food pantries, were baptized
for the dead, and performed numerous other acts of service.
Societies, where help can always be found, provided service above and beyond
that which they would normally have given. Priesthood groups did the same.
brothers and sisters, my heart has seldom been as touched and grateful as it
was when Sister Monson and I literally spent hours reading of these gifts. My
heart is full now as I speak of the experience and contemplate the lives which
have been blessed as a result, for both the giver and the receiver.
words from the 25th chapter of Matthew come to mind:
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world:
I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I
was a stranger, and ye took me in:
and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came
shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and
fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye
have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto
brothers and sisters, may we ask ourselves the question which greeted Dr. Jack
McConnell and his brothers and sisters each evening at dinnertime: “What have I
done for someone today?” May the words of a familiar hymn penetrate our very
souls and find lodgment in our hearts:
Have I done any good in
the world today?
Have I helped anyone in
Have I cheered up the
sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed
Has anyone’s burden been
Because I was willing to
Have the sick and the
weary been helped on their way?
we truly listen, we may hear that voice from far away say to us, as it spoke to
another, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”15That each may qualify
for this blessing from our Lord is my prayer, and I offer it in His name, even
Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen.