Monday, July 13, 2009

More thoughts on perspective

By Stacy Johnson

My friend brought me dinner the other day. It was really for no reason, but that she wanted me to know that she cared about me. It caused me to ponder the first time dinner was brought to me and my husband after the birth of our first baby.

We lived in a small apartment in a neglected part of Mesa. We had been in the ward for about a year at that point, and were “stuck” in the primary that whole time. I didn’t know anyone but the children in our primary class. I couldn’t seem to connect with all the older women in the ward. It was one of those newlywed or nearly dead wards if you know what I mean. I did my best to attend homemaking every month, I did my visiting teaching, and I knew some of the other young mothers in my apartment complex, but other than that, I felt oblivious.

The day I got home from the hospital, a phone call came from an older sister who said she was asked to bring me dinner that evening. I was so excited because I remember the fabulous meals brought to my own mother at the birth of each of her children. I awaited her arrival with great anticipation that I could finally connect with one of the older sisters in the ward.

At her knock, I gently picked up the baby (to show him off) and went to the door. The first thing from her mouth as she stormed through the door and straight to my dining room was something like this, “I didn’t know I would have to climb stairs and park so far away or I would have sent this dinner with someone else!” She never once looked at my sweet baby or congratulated me, she set the bag with dinner on the table and stormed out the door. I never even caught her name. I sat down and cried, feeling so embarrassed. I called the RS President and informed her that we had my mom coming to help us and wouldn’t need anymore meals.

It is amazing how one person can make such an effect on a person. I didn’t accept meals from anyone for the next four years. It wasn’t until the birth of my third child, while living in another state, that a friend brought me dinner without asking. She had known of my issue with that first meal and had simply been the friend that I needed to help me see that it was an isolated incident. Amazing how I couldn’t see it for so long. Time brings a wonderful perspective to my life. I have since served as RS President in my ward and have seen the zillion acts of service on behalf of the sisters of our ward, all because of love and concern. I have been the recipient of more heart felt service than I could possibly remember. Perspective.

4 comments:

  1. What a slap in the face that first dinner was. Isn't it amazing how we let someones else's bad attitude and poor behavior sway us and for such a long time. The older I get, the more I realize I harbor many false perceptions from people that the issue was really their own. It is great to peel these away isn't it? Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I sure know what you mean Stacy. While it never happened to me personally, a lot of sisters anticipate that first experience and have such a horrible one. And you are so right it clouds it for you for a very long time. I was a kid in college, new convert and wanted to find out about this RS thing. Back then it was only on Tuesday mornings, not something I could attened with classes. They isolated me and I stayed isolated until my first calling in RS many years later. Now I love RS, but I sure didn't for a very long time.

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  3. Wow...perspective indeed. What a wonderful gift to have a friend to help you see things differently. I have a funny story about a meal taken to a friend. A sister in the ward showed up at my friend's door with an elaborate meal of roast and potatoes..the works. My friend had just returned home from a c-section birth. anyway...she thanked the sweet sister for the time and considerable expense gone to to prepare the meal. the sister said, "oh no problem...I got it out of your freezer!!" I smile every time I remember that story. No offense was taken...just lots of love and laughter.

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  4. Perspective colors everything, which is precisely why WE can't be the ones to judge. Only the Lord truly knows all the things that have happened in our lives to make us do what we do, when or how we do it and to respond to others how we do. I often think that if we could REALLY see people as they are, as we knew them in the pre-existence, we might just bow down before them. You just don't know what happened to make someone act thoughtless or even generous. Life is an interesting journey and an even more interesting teacher. Good post!

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