Strawberries and Service
“Most service given is accomplished quietly, without fanfare. A friendly smile, a warm hand also, a sincere testimony of truth can literally lift lives, change Human nature, and save precious souls.” – Thomas S. Monson
We have this strawberry field near our house with a little shack where they sell freshly picked strawberries each season. We drive by it just about everyday and my kids stare longingly out the window waiting and waiting and waiting for it to open and finally, last week it did. My kids and I stopped and snagged several baskets of the most delicious strawberries. On our way home as I was pulling onto our street I had this thought that our neighbor (a sweet widow who lives by herself) might like a basket. I pulled over, berries in hand and walked to her door…all kids in tow.
She was so surprised by our visit and grateful for the kind gesture. She invited us in and we spent the next forty five minutes chatting, laughing, and visiting. We only left because my kids needed to go to their youth church activity although I’m sure we could have visited for hours. When we left we all had a smile on our faces and warm feelings in our heart.
After dropping the kids off at the church I started to pull out with my two littles and we saw the senior missionary couple walking out to their car. We stopped and shared a strawberry basket with them. Again, bright smiles were exchanged, visiting ensued, and love was felt.
On our way back my seven year old son asked if we could share more baskets. My heart, feeling so warm that he recognized what a beautiful thing it is to give and to serve. I asked him if he liked how he was feeling right then. He said, yeah so I asked him if he knew WHY he was feeling like that. We talked for a while about giving, serving, and love and when we do these things we feel an increase in love for others, we grow closer to our father in Heaven and in our Savior, Jesus Christ who spent his whole earthly ministry serving and loving and continues to do so.
Heber J. Grant said, “SERVICE is the real key to JOY”
If we want to feel and experience JOY we need to find simple ways to reach out to others. Cheryl A. Esplin commented that, “Service doesn’t have to be BIG or GRANDIOSE to be meaningful and make a difference.”
In fact, majority of the time the most meaningful acts of service that I absolutely cherish have been little things.
Towards the end of my pregnancy with my third child I remember feeling so, so, so done. It was really close to the due date and she still hadn’t come. My older two children came weeks early so in my mind this one was LATE and I was miserable. I went to church and people would playfully joke, “You haven’t had that baby yet” and then they’d chuckle…I didn’t think that was funny…at all. In fact, I was so uncomfortable and mentally done that when people would ask or say anything about the due date I just burst into tears. Miserable.
Then the next morning I received an unexpected visitor. A sweet sister came over with a plate of chocolate chip bars that were STILL WARM and the chocolate was still melted. Oh my, ooey gooey goodness that I can still recall the taste. It was just a little slice of heaven. She said, “I just couldn’t stop thinking about you and wanted to make you a little something.” It wasn’t HUGE but knowing she was thinking of me and loving me and going out of her way was so meaningful to me. That was over nine years ago and that simple act still brings so many thoughts of love and gratitude.
Another simple act of service was given to me the Sunday that we moved from our ward that we had been in for close to ten years. I worked largely with the music in that ward for most of my time there and I loved it so much. Those people in our ward choir will always have a special place in my heart. So that Sunday of saying goodbye I knew was going to be a tough one but as we sat down to sing the opening hymn I was so grateful as it was one of my most favorites. Then the sacrament hymn, if I could have picked my favorite, I would have picked that one. The closing hymn was once again one of my most beloved hymns. I thought, this can’t be a coincidence. I asked my dear friend, the music coordinator for our ward, “That wasn’t chance was it?” He smiled and replied, “No, that wasn’t a coincidence. That was for you.” This might not seem like anything big to others but to me, a music person who feels and connects deeply with these hymns this WAS one of the most thoughtful things anyone has done for me. At that moment when I learned that it was indeed a gift of love, I was so overcome with feelings of rich gratitude, so much love, and appreciation. I’m still teary eyed as I recall this memory. No one else noticed or even knew but to me I’ll cherish that forever.
There are many more, too many to name here but these unexpected kindnesses have had huge impressions on my heart and created so much joy in my life.
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Kindness that catches us by surprise brings our the best in our natures.” – Bob Kerry
Think about the kindnesses you’ve been blessed with in your life. Think about the service you’ve given to others. Can you remember how it good it felt? Can you still feel the joy, love, and gratitude you felt then?
Take a few minutes today to just sit with your memories. Recall them in as much detail as you can. Feel that love in your life and then when you feel that precious love, find someone to serve today.
Go out of your way to do an unexpected kindness today – even if it’s just a smile, a compliment, a text, a phone call.
Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “Kindness is the essence of GREATNESS.”
Be great today. Lift others and you’ll find it lifts you too.
By the way, if you’re floundering on an idea to service, I’ll say that strawberries are always a good place to start. 😉🍓
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