So Yesterday was the Cochrane food drive, and while collecting food I had a very interesting conversation with an older man that I met as I knocked on doors collecting food.
I love serving but I prefer to do it quietly as I am not always the most friendly person. Making small talk makes me very uncomfortable so when we are asked to knock on doors asking for food for the Food Bank my heart races and my stomache sinks. But I know it is for a good cause and I will never get better at talking to people by hiding from conversation. So I took some of our church’s wonderful youth with me and started going door to door. As the driver I waited a bit, hoping that I wouldn’t need to get out but I knew it was the right thing to do no matter how little sleep I got the night before or how lazy I wanted to be. I had only done 1 other house (that had already put food out meaning I didnt need to nock. phew!!!) As the YW walked my way I skipped a house feeling impressed to knock on the next door over, telling the YW to take the door I skipped. I knocked, and waited. Then an older man came to the door and I kindly said “Hi, I am here with Helping hands collecting food for the cochrane Food bank. Do you have any food you would like to donate?” What came next was not what I was expecting. He yelled at me! He said “how dare you ask me to help people that through their own poor choices are in the situation they are in and why would I help someone who wont help themself!” Well I was astonished to say the least. Our instructions for the food drive did not prepare me for this situation. Many thoughts went through my head as I stood there with him still yelling at me. I thought about how I never served a mission, I have not been trained in hostile rejection! I also couldn’t help but think that I was so glad I knocked on this door and not one of the Young women followed by why did I accept this route? someone more qualified than me should be here. But needless to say I did accept that route, and I did knock on that door. So there I stood my heart racing and I am sure my face was going red as I stressed about what I would say to this man. My first thought was that I should just say ok thank you for your time and walk away which I am sure would have been fine. But as he continued to share his thoughts on how if bad things happen to you it is your own fault, and you should smarten up and help yourself, I found myself amazed that someone could have such a lack of empathy for others. I started to feel bad for this man because he clearly did not understand the joy that comes from helping those in need. I realized that he feels this way because he attributes all his successes and all his failure to himself, and in that I felt the deepest sorrow for this man as I realized that he has maybe never felt of Gods love for him.
I only spent about 15 min with this man and after sharing some of my thoughts and experiences with service he did change his mind and even ended up donating some cans of food, but I hope I meet this man again and am able to continue our conversation because as I have thought more about it the past 24 hrs I have thought of so many more things to say.
There are many people in this world that feel like they are on their own. That this is their life and they need to handle the challenges and trials and yes their consequenses themselves. That we should not give handouts, and they should just smarten up and do better. I can say that, because I am definitely one of those people. I 100% feel that we should work towards becoming self reliant. We should learn skills and be hard working. We need to be responisble for ourselves and not expect others to take care of us. But I also think that it can be lonely and very depressing thinking that you must do everything yourself. I have an amazing family that live close by and wonderful friends, but the fact is, is that I feel alone in my trials 99% of the time. The majority of my day I spend going from one thing to the next just trying to get through not knowing how I will ever manage to accomplish all that I have. There are times when I feel so overwhelmed with countless doctors appointments, therapies, medications, insurance claims and of course the never ending cries from my poor little Eliza, that I just want to give up and stop trying because life is just too hard.
Although I still have a firm belief that self reliance is essential, I also know that our loving Heavenly Father wants us to lighten each others burdens. My family has been so blessed that even in our toughest time we have not needed to go to the food bank to feed our family but I have had some very defining moments when people have served me. When they have sacrificed their own time for me. And I have to remind my self that they do that because they love me, they love their savior and they, like him, want to help make others life easier.
That is what I would share with that man if I happen to meet him again. I will tell him that I serve others because it makes the world a better place. Yes sometimes people make bad choices and yes sometimes people don’t appreciate when they are served but it doesn’t matter. Our Savior was the perfect example. He loves all of Gods children no matter who they are. He was willing to give his life for all of us, no matter what choices we make, so that we can live with our families and our Heavenly Father again. No he does not come down and physically help those in need, but not because he can’t, he doesn’t because he wants us to help them. He wants us to learn to love and care for one another. He wants us to give a hug to a lonely friend or shovel the walk of our elderly neighbor and yes even feed those whose can’t feed themselves.
Through my trials I have learned first hand that my Savior is there for me. He knows how I feel and he understands my pain. He wants me to succeed and he knows what I am capable of. So he has sent earthly angels to help me. I have experienced so many miracles in the past 8 years. I know it is because my heavenly father and my Savior Love me and that he is mindful of me and my family.
President Uchtdorf said “The lord doesn’t care at all if we spend our days working in marble halls or stable stalls. He knows where we are, no matter how humble our circumstances. He will use those who incline their hearts to him. God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the saviors example and spend the days of their lives doing good.”
I realized that it doesn’t matter to heavenly Father where I am, what my calling is, whether my house is clean or if I have the most followers on pinterest. What matters is that I am doing my best, and that I too strive to be his hands here on earth.