Friday, October 21, 2011

On Becoming Better

In a 1996 BYU Devotional, President Hinckley gave a challenge to youth, which of course, includes all of us. (I'm only chronologically old, but my spirit is still very young.) He said:

"You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others.

"I do not suppose that any of us here this day will be remembered a thousands years from now. I do not suppose that we will be remembered a century from now.

"But in this world so filled with problems, so constantly threatened by dark and evil challenges, you can and must rise above mediocrity, above indifference. You can become involved and speak with a strong voice for that which is right.

"You cannot simply sit in your laboratory or your library and let the world drift along in its aimless way. It needs your strength, your courage, your voice in speaking up for those values which can save it." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Sept 17, 1996)

When I think of the world being a better place for my presence, it is totally overwhelming. What kind of difference can I make? I'm an insignificant nobody! Then the Spirit whispers that I have raised a family who are all contributing to make the world a better place. And each kind deed I do really does make the world better for that person who was the recipient of that deed. As I teach my Laurel class each Sunday, I'm trying to instill in them good values and set a good example for them as they watch what I do in my personal life.

I'm trying desperately to finish this ghost story by Thanksgiving but yesterday my husband was rebuilding our patio and he needed my help to hoist the big pieces of lumber onto the braces. I made his world a lot better by listening for the saw to finish, then run out to help him before he struggled to lift the heavy wood by himself. Result: two pages accomplished inside. A healthy, happier uninjured husband outside. Then we laughed while we cleaned the tar off each other when we finished. Our marriage was also improved. The world was a better place.

Today I had the entire day marked off to write. But a friend who suffers from incredible pain wanted to go to lunch. She hasn't been to church for weeks because of her pain, so how could I turn her down now that she is feeling improved enough to venture out? Sometimes just the smallest of sacrifices on our part can make the greatest difference to someone else.

I will never claim to be a great writer but if my meager efforts at storytelling can help someone through their painful chemo and radiation treatments, I'm delighted. If I can provide something wholesome instead of worldly for a teenager to read, I'm happy. If I can lift the spirits of a sister who is struggling, I'm content that just maybe I can make a difference, and the world will be better because I am here.

1 comment:

Gale Sears said...

I love the wise counsel from Pres. Hinckley. Thank you for sharing your insight into this character trait. I will pass the words of wisdom on to family members.