Lessons From Will: Service

Ben and I have learned a lot of lessons since we were told William had his birth defect. We learned more about each other and ourselves. But this one is one that has been a constant lesson, and one that has changed. Ben and I were good people, we served others, but it was the bare minimum. I didn’t think it was bad, I thought I was such an amazing person. It wasn’t until I was put in the place where others have served my family when I realized I wasn’t doing the absolute best I could.

Just a couple days ago Utah got a couple inches of snow, we woke up around 8 am and Ben needed to go out into the parking lot and shovel the ground to get his car our so he could get to work. I stayed inside and got William ready for the day. It was hard work, it was cold, but Ben was determined to get our car out of the snow so he wouldn’t get stuck, he also shoveled our second car so I would be able to take Will to his therapy appointments. Ben came inside after about an hour to take a break. we were upstairs I was getting Will’s food ready and our bedroom window was open. Behind our town home you see another apartment building. There was a girl, trying to shovel herself out with a broom and only getting more and more stuck in the snow. Ben, after shoveling two cars out of the snow by himself, stood up and said; “be right back, I’m going to let her borrow our shovel.” He went downstairs and handed her the shovel, then talked with her for a bit. She explained how she has never lived in snow before and really have to get to work because she missed work the day before and couldn’t afford to miss another day, or be late. After a little while I looked out the window again to see Ben deep in snow pushing this lady’s car by himself. It took almost an hour but someone else came by and helped them. Ben got that lady unstuck from the snow and then returned back to his own shoveling by himself.

I was very impressed and touched by this. Ben has always been a selfless person but it went to a new level since we had Will. Once, we were right down the street from our home, coming back from the hospital, when Ben got a message from a friend who needed someone to help with a blessing at the hospital which was 30 minutes away. Without saying anything, Ben turned around and headed back to the hospital. He never told his friend that we were close to home, but instead thanked his friend for allowing him to be apart of a wonderful blessing for his son, and thanked him for asking him to help with the blessing.

Ben and I were driving home from the hospital one night, it was when William had a 2 month hospital stay. Ben looked at me and said; “I want us to raise our kids to just serve. If they have a thought or a feeling to help someone that they will just do it and not think so much about it that they end up not doing anything. I want our kids to stop asking if someone needs something but to pray and let the spirit guide them in what they should do. And I want our kids to know that they should never post-pone a prompting.” I agreed, and we decided that later down the road we were going to do more service projects, visit hospitals, and do more good for people. Buying someone dinner out of the blue, giving someone a present, visiting someone in the hospital.

Many of our church leaders have addressed many times the importance of listing to the spirit and making sure we act on it. One of my favorite quotes is from Elder Rasband;

“Paxton’s family has learned they are surrounded by countless heavenly and earthly ministering angels. Some have quietly slipped in when needed and silently slipped out. Others have been at the door with food, doing the laundry, picking up the siblings, calling with encouragement, and especially praying for Paxton. Thus another special lesson learned: If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all.”

Dallin H. Oaks talks about the concept of good, better, and best.

“We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.”

It is good to pray for someone, it is good to let them know you are thinking of them, it is good to like a picture or comment on facebook. It is better to offer to help, it is better to ask if someone needs help, it is better to comment and call frequently. It is best to visit, it is best to listen to the spirit, it is better to act, it is better to do some service to help them without asking or without them expecting it.

In our lives, we focus on Will. So when someone says to is; “please let me know if you need anything.” Is wonderful, but since my attention is on my son and all that he is going through I don’t often think about asking people to do things for me. That is why praying and listening to the promptings of the spirit are so important. Heavenly Father knows everything we need, and because of that he is the best source to go it when asking what someone needs. Or, if you have a random impression don’t post-pone it or shrug it off. Pay attention to it.

During our adventure with Will, we have had people who we barely know give us presents, give Will blankets, bring us dinner, and just send uplifting and happy letters of encouragement. My family lives in Texas, so Ben and I don’t have family support near-by. Its hard on us, but to meet people who are like family is wonderful. The Lord has put certain people in our lives to help us when others have fallen through. He watches over us and helps us. Our ward, the PCH branch, and many friends have stepped in where we needed help. Doing out laundry, watching our dog, doing our dishes, visiting us, or checking on us every day. It have kept our spirits, and hopes up. We are grateful for the spirit that guides us and the people who are willing to listen.