Friday, April 1, 2011
4:20 in the morning the fire alarms started blaring again. It seems like we have one every other month. I was already up sitting on a pack of ice because I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder. It didn’t take long to dress and leave the apartment. Unfortunately I didn’t have my keys.
The alarms are off, the cat has settled down again and my husband is back in bed trying for another hour of sleep. Luckily for us he had his keys.
I was remembering the last time we got to sprint down the stairs for an alarm. One of our neighbors, a new resident, had left her apartment in her pajamas without coat, shoes, keys, or the ability at the moment at least to speak much English. Sitting with her I wished I had at least a blanket to give her as she waited for someone to help her. This morning as I left my apartment, I grabbed my little quilt to take with me, but changed my mind and took a wool poncho as well as my jacket. I didn’t see her though. Either she was better prepared this time or has moved on.
I have often thought back about that incident and wished I had at least offered her my warm socks or jacket. I regret having passed up an opportunity for service.
I remember many years ago sitting in a Mac Donald’s in Oxford, England, sharing a burger and fries with my three-year-old daughter. A Homeless woman came up to us and begged our fries. She scared my daughter and made me nervous. I asked the manager to ask her to leave. For many, many years I’ve wished I had given the manager some money and asked him to get her some food. More regrets.
I remember going to a single adult conference one year and listening to a motivational speaker. I only remember her first name, Lillian, but I remember what she said.
She told us that she believed that we are each given a number of doors to open, to help others. Each door is meant for us, but the choice is ours. Will we open them and help, or ignore them. She told us about one she had opened gladly, one she had opened reluctantly and one someone else had to take that should have been hers. She related the joy, the repentance, and the sorrow she felt for each of her actions
I wonder often, if in my selfish life, the noise I spread around me keeps me from hearing the knocking on my doors. How many opportunities for service have I missed?
The Church News has an article about our stake in it. The McLean stake had a service Expo in March. It was a grand time. Four hundred people got to enjoy a couple of hours of service to help our fellow men. I’m glad that this year I took the opportunity to share. I’m already excited to start preparing for next March. Hope I see you there.
Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To hide the faults I see,
That mercy I to others show
That mercy show to me.