Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Life's a Journey--Serve With a Friend

Paul doing what he loved to do!  He was always cooking for others!

One year ago today, Paul passed away after courageously battling cancer.  He was such an inspiration to all who knew him.  He was that one-in-a-million kind of guy!

As I was thinking about his many great qualities today, I think his greatest qualities were his ability to love unconditionally and serve others.  He was always the first person to offer a helping hand…no matter what…if he was able, he would drop what he was doing and help someone else. 

This post is something that I feel Paul would like me to share with others.  This was his legacy…to serve others.  I feel that it is very important to share this message for and in behalf of my loving husband. 

Like Paul, I was raised in a home where service was always a top priority…for that I will always be grateful.  I learned the importance of serving others at a young age.  I learned that if at all possible, you stop what you are doing and help others.

Paul and I were “two peas in a pod”…honestly, we were inseparable…I miss taking his homemade rolls and cookies to people…I miss his optimistic outlook…I miss his kind and giving heart…I miss so many things…

To marry a man with the understanding of the importance of service was such a blessing for me.  It was something else we did together.  If we couldn’t do it together, we would SUPPORT EACH OTHER in accomplishing the things we needed to do.

Ok, I just have to say this…I enjoy the serving part more! To be the one receiving service is not easy…but in saying that, I am so grateful for all the many friends and family who have made our burdens lighter through their service.  Not only during Paul’s illness, but we are still receiving kind acts of service on a regular basis.

You know something really cool that I have discovered that has been a huge help to me?  You can still serve others, even during your own trials.   In fact, I have discovered that SERVICE is a great way to help YOU get THROUGH your TRIALS.  Besides the obvious thing like it helps you to focus on someone else, therefore you forget about yourself, service creates an enabling power which actually improves our own individual lives.

Jesus Christ taught, Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it”-Luke 9:24 

“I believe,” said Thomas S. Monson, “the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives”-Serve the Lord with Love, Ensign, Feb. 2014.

Thomas S. Monson also said, “Often we live side by side but do not communicate heart to heart. There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out, “Is there no balm in Gilead?”

How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that “oh, surely someone will take care of that need.

We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.

Many years ago I heard a poem which has stayed with me, by which I have tried to guide my life. 
 It’s one of my favorites:

I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind. 

My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.

You may lament: I can barely make it through each day, doing all that I need to do. How can I provide service for others? What can I possibly do?

Just over a year ago, I was interviewed by the Church News prior to my birthday. At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter asked what I would consider the ideal gift that members worldwide could give to me. I replied, “Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her”-What Have I Done for Someone Today, Ensign, Nov. 2009.

I have asked myself these important questions and would encourage you to do the same. Am I willing to sacrifice my time to help someone else? Am I really too busy to help?   Am I waiting or hoping for someone else to do it…let that someone else be ME and YOU!

You might say, but I am serving.  I serve all the time.  I have family responsibilities that require me to serve them.  I have no time to serve anyone else but them.   They are my priority.  Yes, our immediate families are our priority so I am not suggesting that we don’t serve and take care of them.  What I am suggesting, and what Thomas Monson is suggesting is that just maybe we have more time to help than we think.  Maybe we can rearrange our schedules. Maybe we do actually have time to prepare a meal and take over to the sick neighbor.  Just maybe we can do it!

Yes, the dishes will still be there when you get home; the laundry will still be piled high; dinner will not be cooked; there may be little in your own cupboards; but this I know, we are blessed when we follow the teachings of our Savior.  Somehow those things will be taken care of.  Ironically, it may be through the help of someone else!

Paul was an example of true love and service up until the moment he went into a coma.  He found ways to serve while he was sick and in bed.  He would call and check on other people to see how they were doing and to offer words of encouragement.  He would greet others who came to visit with a warm smile…he always wanted to know about them.  He wanted to serve them. He wanted them to leave his presence knowing that they were loved.  Service doesn’t always have to be something big.  Sometimes it is the small things that matter most!

In Matthew Chapter 5 we read, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

This I know, when I stand before my Savior, He is not going to ask me if I had my laundry done; if my house was clean; what kind of car I drove; how big my house was; which soccer team my child played on; if I got an A on the math test…He is going to ask me how I loved and served others.  It is all about love.  And a large part of love is the service we render. 

Life can be busy.  We are counseled not to run faster than we have strength.  In fact, sometimes I have felt like I was pushing the edge a little.  Often times I wish I could do more, but find that my body just won’t allow it!  I hate to say no, but understand that sometimes it is necessary. I feel the way Anne Morrow Lindberg does, “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.”  

While I have never run the Ragnar Relay Race, I have numerous friends who have.  On the website it says this about the race,  “In the Ragnar Relay Series, teams of 12 run a 200-mile relay over two days and one night; in the Ragnar Relay Series teams of 8 run a 120-mile trail relay over the same time span. Often called a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant, this unique relay turns out crazy costumes, inside jokes, close quarters and unforgettable stories.

Each Ragnar brings thousands of people together to create deeper connections and celebrate together as they conquer a challenge they couldn’t accomplish alone. Life’s a journey – run it with friends!”

At times, service can be like a relay race.  You go and go and then you need a break.  You need someone to pick up where you left off.  Together you can accomplish great things.  Together you can experience true joy and happiness.  Together you might get sweaty and stinky. Together you can find much laughter. Together, many hands make work light.  I would like to ask you to join my team and remember : Life’s a journey - serve with friends! 


  1. Sandra you and Paul are an inspiration to me. I am so very glad I went to see you both a year ago. I remember as i was driving to your house wondering just what I would say, then meeting the funeral director coming out your front door. I must admit that was a bit of a shock! I count the next hour as one of the most choice in my life. Thank you both for serving me and lifting my spirits. The tears cams as I drove away knowing I would not see him again until it was my turn to pass through the same portal, but the breathtaking reality came...I WILL see him again. Thank you for becoming who you are and letting all of us be part of your journey.

  2. Sandra, what a wonderful way to remember Paul and teach us all a lesson. We have been given so much through the service of others. Our greatest blessings have come from serving and being served. What a wonderful reminder of what is really important. Thank you for serving us.