Highlights from 2017
Devastation and catastrophes could be two words to describe 2017. Earthquakes, hurricanes, fires and shootings have made the headlines this past year giving little hope. Amongst the destruction heroes were born. People stopped their political verbal wars and joined forces to lift and help one another. Many touching examples of brotherly love were felt this year that helped soften hearts and touch the souls of thousands across America.
Mormon Helping Hands
Recently, my brother shared with me a story about when he helped those that lost their homes in the Lilac Fire in San Diego. He was part of a group from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wearing the yellow vests that say “Mormon Helping Hands.” You might have seen the “yellow vests” in your town helping a neighbor or two. My brother, Charles, took his two daughter’s, Taylor and Jayne, to serve in their local community after the devastating fires.
One of the tasks that they were asked to accomplish was sifting through the ash to see if they could find any possessions that were not destroyed. My niece, Jayne who is 13 years old, described her experience by saying, “My friend and I found a couple of rings, one of them being the wife’s wedding ring. It was such a great experience to help this elderly couple when they thought that they would never find any of these important valuables ever again. When we were sifting through all their fallen down and burnt house, I had such a good feeling that we were helping others and doing service.”
Why does serving others help us? I have heard countless stories similar to this one where they felt “good” while serving someone else. There seems to be a special blessing that comes with service.
As we filled the month of December with acts of service, our light within burned a little brighter. Our own struggles seemed, at least for a time, to be lifted and allowed our hearts to heal. There seems to be no real scientific reason for how this occurs, but I know it does.
Perhaps it has to do with a principle that Jesus Christ taught almost 2,000 years ago. He said, “whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35)
My other niece, Taylor who is 15 years old, shared similar feelings of service when she said, “The fire clean up was an amazing way to help those in need, just like Christ would! Everything they had was destroyed and they were so happy that we could help them. It made me so grateful for what I had.”
Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “My message to you today … is that you resolve to dedicate a part of your time, as you map out your life’s work, to those in distress and need, with no consideration of recompense. Your skills are needed, whatever they may be. Your helping hands will lift someone out of the mire of distress. Your steady voice will give encouragement to some who might otherwise simply give up. Your skills can change the lives, in a remarkable and wonderful way, of those who walk in need. If not now, when? If not you, who?”
That last statement reminds me of one of my new favorite songs from 2017 called “Do Something.” I wrote an article about this song here.
Hinckley goes on to say, “The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.”
New Year’s Resolution
One of my New Year’s Resolution is to find more peace and happiness in my life as a wife and mother of 5 children. It will not do any good to set a goal for the new year without understanding how I can actually accomplish this goal and create a habit of happiness.
Gordon B. Hinckley continues when he said, “Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people. Cultivate a spirit of forgiveness in your heart against any who might have offended you. Look to the Lord and live and work to lift and serve His sons and daughters. You will come to know a happiness that you have never known before if you will do that. I do not care how old you are, how young you are, whatever. You can lift people and help them. Heaven knows there are so very, very, very many people in this world who need help. Oh, so very, very many. Let’s get the cankering, selfish attitude out of our lives, my brothers and sisters, and stand a little taller and reach a little higher in the service of others. … Stand taller, stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Forget yourself. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Losing Ourselves in the Service of Others“)
That’s the answer and key to unlocking the secret to happiness and it begins with service. I am grateful for my two stellar nieces and their rockstar father for being willing and able to serve others this past Christmas season. Their examples of service bless not only the lives of those they serve, but others like myself as well. We need more heroes like them that take the cause of others as their own in genuiune love and service.
Will you join me and continue to fight for peace and happiness through service in 2018? Can you just imagine if each of us just can “Do Something” in 2018. Together we can change the world. #LIGHTtheWORLD
NBC news reported the story about the missing ring below. You can catch a glimpse of my brother on the right side of the screen near the beginning. Here is a link to the video as well.