In his talks directed to single adults in the church, President Gordon B. Hinckley's most oft repeated advice was, simply, to serve others.
"The best medicine for despair is service," (To Single Adults, 1989.)
"Lose yourself in the service of others," (A Conversation with Single Adults, 1997.)
In the past, my eye-rolling response was always, "How can he possibly know what being single is like? He's married!"
I thought losing myself in the service of others meant becoming the next Mother Teresa. Then I had some amazing experiences last week proving how wrong I was. I don't have to move to Calcutta. As I started looking around this small, humble, microcosm in which I exist, I discovered there's plenty of nice things I can do, right here, in my own community.
As my week of (mostly) unplanned service progressed, I realized I was on a roll and I kept finding many opportunities, both big and small, to serve my fellow man.
Like Cher from Clueless, (who found joy in helping her friends by taking them shopping) I was feeling so satisfied, so filled with the sprit of service, I wanted to do more good deeds.
So, here is what serendipitously became "My Week of Service."
Monday: Volunteer at St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen in downtown Salt Lake City with the Murray 11th Ward. (Because my Mom couldn't make it and sent me in her place, thanks Mom!)
Tuesday: Donate blood at ARUP Blood Services, Sandy UT (which isn't easy for me because of my pernicious anemia)
Wednesday: The ward I attend was throwing a going away party at the neighborhood park for a beloved family who was moving. Any willing volunteers to bring cookies would be very welcome. So, I stepped into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies and went. Because our ward has lots of kids, including my two favorite nephews, I had many opportunities to play aunt and help pick up the toddlers being loaded like torpedoes down the slide by their older siblings, (which we quickly put a stop to) wipe noses and kiss boo boos.
Thursday: My stepfather came down with the world's worst virus: coughing, laryngitis, fatigue, and was sent home from work where I sent him straight to bed and made sure he had plenty of chicken noodle soup (and chocolate chip cookies) to aid in his recovery.
Friday: Babysit my eight year nephew until his parents could get home from work. Then we all went to Fashion Place Mall for some shopping and dinner at the food court where I helped keep an eye on both my favorite nephews. I recommend the corn dogs, they're excellent!
Saturday: Attended a friend's party
(OK, going to a party isn't exactly an act of service or sacrifice, but spending time with your best girlfriends and catching up on each other's lives is important too, right?)
Sunday: Sang in church.
First time I've ever been asked to sing in public so I was both honored and flattered when I was asked over a month ago if I'd be willing to do a number in sacrament meeting. I found a great piece, printed the sheet music off the internet, practiced hard and was able to perform with poise and confidence; bringing the spirit and love of the Savior into the meeting.
The many compliments I received afterward didn't hurt either!
I challenge anyone who is feeling a little down, in the depths of despair, or having too much fun indulging in their own pity-party, to take President Hinckley's challenge and find some small way to serve.
You don't have to make a week out of it. It doesn't have to be big and grand. Don't feel bad if it doesn't go viral. The littlest, most insignificant act of service you stop and provide might just make somebody else's day.
And, who knows, you might just lose yourself (or find yourself) in the process!
October 25, 2015
I submitted this post to Deseret Connect. Six months later it was published online.
Read it Here