Jul 7, 2007


by Betsy Love

Good deeds. They are the little things that brighten someone’s day, the simple moments when we give up our selfishness in behalf of someone else. In the last few months I’ve spent way too much time thinking about the person who cut me off on the freeway, the fellow student who offended me, the friend who was thoughtless, the rude family that took cuts in front of me at the movie concession line, and other such things that bring my spirit down. All it’s gotten me is a bit of misery.

Today I spent a few minutes thinking about good deeds and feeling guilty that I don’t do enough good deeds. Sarah, my youngest daughter is such an example to me. Yesterday she spent the morning caring for two young children in our ward whose mother broke her foot and is in a wheel chair. All of the young women were asked to sign up for a day to help out. My daughter, being an amazingly sweet good-deed-doer, signed up for four days. She said it would go along with one of her young women’s values. When I went to pick up Sarah I asked Sister Rose who was coming in for the afternoon shift. “No one,” she replied. So I had Sarah grab some things and we took the older of the two home with us and left the nursing 4-month old home with her mother. Sarah fixed Lizzie lunch and played with her. It made me feel good to be a good-deed-doer, even though all I did was bring her home. (I did clean up the lunch mess).

My husband left yesterday to go fishing with the boys. Before they left, I ran around town getting a backpack, fishing license, and other camping supplies. I’ve usually let them pack their own things allowing them to learn the intricate strategies of backpacking. (Actually, I really hate packing if I don’t get to go!) This time, however I helped. I made sure everything in their packs was lightweight (taking paper towels off the rolls, not slipping in the end of a roll of tin foil, but rather pulling it off as well, copying the cardboard instructions for the water filter, rather than throwing in the whole cardboard packaging). I felt good knowing I had been the good-deed-doer.

While at Costco this morning, several things happened that made me think of good deeds. Two women, completely engrossed in conversation didn’t notice that they were blocking an entire aisle, especially in front of the onions I needed to get to. I waited a few minutes (okay, it was probably seconds) and then realized I didn’t have to be irritated, so I went around another way. They have no idea that I did a good deed by not getting huffy and saying something rude. They don’t have to know. What is important is that I know that I did it and that made my day. When I blocked someone’s way at the book section, the women sweetly asked, “Will you hand me that book?” It was so easy to be understanding and apologetic. I’m not saying if I hadn’t had the other encounter I would have done something irrational like tip the woman’s cart over and yell at her to wait her turn, but I did feel good, all the way home, rather than the usual grumpy attitude I come home with when I go shopping on a Saturday morning at Costco.

Last night I listened to a young man tell me about a death he tried to prevent. It might not have been a big deal to an EMT; it happens; people are going to die. But this was his first experience with losing a “patient”. I’m glad I took the time to listen, it was a simple good-deed, but one that was important to him.

That’s just my two cents worth today. Good deeds, feel good, mostly for the do-gooder.


  1. Great post. Good-deed-doers are all too few and far between. I need to be a better good-deed-doer.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Betsy! Thank you for the cheerful reminder! Just think of the good deeds we can accomplish with our writing, too! I've discovered that a little note of appreciation to a teacher or someone that has touched me with their testimony not only lifts my spirits as I show gratitude, but lifts the recipient as well. Good deeds always have a ripple effect in the proverbial little ponds in which we live.

  3. Betsy,
    Your examples were so good, so true-to-life (because they were from life) that they made me smile. Especially the aisle-blockers at Costco. That is usually me.

    But, you're right about good deeds. We do them to reach out to other people, but it does marvelous things to/for us at the same time.

    I need to remember that.

  4. Thanks, Betsy.

    I'm reminded of many who, in answer to my question of, "How are you?" reply, "I'm doing good," to which I reply, "Oh, I'm so glad. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if everybody went around constantly 'doing good'?"

    Mostly, they don't get it. They just give me a 'Huh? Where are you coming from?' stare and move on.

    But that's OK. I have enjoyed the thought. And as you say, Betsy, in the long run we 'do good' for our own pleasure and benefit.

    Is this what "enduring to the end" really means?

    Keep smiling, and do good deeds.

  5. Wow, Anna, I've never thought of 'enduring to the end' in that context. What a nice thing to contemplate this Sabbath day.


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