Recently I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who is not a member of the church and she was saying that she really envied the "community" that we share in this church. Tonight we had a Stake Young Men/Young Women carnival and all the wards made booths and ran them and I think it was pretty successful night. The kids really seemed to have a good time. But as I watched all these men and women set up, man and take down the booths, clean the grounds, mop and vacuum the floors, clean the bathrooms, haul garbage etc., I suddenly was very grateful for this "community" that I am a part of. No one got paid a dime to do any of that work tonight. No one got much recognition. People just did it because that is what we do. We serve and help each other and clean up afterwards. Men sweep and pick up soggy cupcakes off the parking lot street side by side with the women. We study and prepare lessons and paint peoples homes and babysit children and make quilts for those in need. When post-partum depression gets the best of you, someone comes over and cries with you and pats your back and takes the baby back home with her so you can just get some sleep.
A few years ago a friend of mine on our street had to go on bed rest with her pregnancy. My neighbor Michelle and I went down to her home and started arranging some help. I said, "Ok, I'll take your daughter and watch her tomorrow and bring you dinner and then Michelle will take her the next day . . . etc." She stopped and looked at us with the most bewildered look on her face and she asked, "Why would you do all that?" And honestly, I was surprised. "Why WOULDN'T we?" "Isn't that what you just DO when someone needs it?"
How many times had I followed my mom up to someone's door carrying the corn or the vegetable that went with their dinner my mom had prepared? How many people climbed out of the woodwork and helped my family as my dad lost his battle with cancer at such a young age? People cleaned our pool for free, painted our house! brought us meal after meal, mowed our lawn - the list is endless. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer last year the same thing happened - endless help, meals, babysitting, love, treats: she was spoiled rotten. It made us all want to get cancer a little. How grateful I am to be part of this wonderful church, whose members help and love and serve each other because it's just what we've been taught to do and we think it's normal. It's not. It's unique and it's wonderful and it's the way the Lord planned it. He didn't mean for any of us to be alone or to have to shoulder our burdens by ourselves. That's why we visit teach and home teach and serve in the nursery. And then our kids sit back and see all of this going on and grow up thinking, "It's just what you do." I am so grateful for this tonight.
" . . and now as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, (or take our the trash or mop the floor after a youth activity when you'd probably rather be home watching the Olympics) and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in . . . " (Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:8-9)