I had never been to Texas before. As I sat next to my husband and listened to the prelude music I looked around at the Carrollton ward members and watched mothers and fathers settle young children, comfort babies, and greet each other with hugs and pounding pats on the back. A few sat quietly, arms folded and heads bowed. The organist transitioned into another melody that seemed to open a window to heaven. The warmth of the Spirit flowed over me and I turned to watch the man who shared such a wonderful gift. He was an older gentleman, years of hard work and experience were etched in the lines of his face. A hymn book stood open in front of him, but he wasn't looking at it. He wasn't even playing a hymn. Measure after measure of harmonic beauty flowed from his instrument. And he smiled. I wondered how many songs he has memorized and how he came to learn to play the organ. What was his story? What other gifts did he possess? I could see and feel the Savior's countenance shining upon this man.
I thought more about gifts. Everyone is given at least one. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a part - a reason and a purpose in this life. I doubt that the organist will ever know that he played a part in my life and how his gift lifted me that Sunday morning. How often am I unaware of how the things I say and do - or write - affect others; for good or bad?
During my trip to Texas, I reconnected with a sweet couple who lived in Phoenix many years ago. I met Taryn and Colby when they were still young single adults and I have fond memories of watching their courtship and the beginnings of their now large family. We had fun remembering how my then five-year-old daughter had a terrible crush on Colby and cried when he got married. Then Taryn said,
"I need to tell you that your family name comes up frequently at our house. You had such an influence on us as a young couple and now we've made friends with a new young couple in our ward. We've taken them under our wing and we tell them that they will have the same opportunity to serve fifteen or so years down the road - like you did for us."
I had no idea. I did know I loved this couple. And there lies the key. Taryn reminded me that the greatest gift I can develop is the ability to love - to focus outwardly - and to serve others-unconditionally.
So, how do I apply this to my writing? The concept of love gives me a purpose for my writing. To help me remember, I wrote that purpose on an index card and taped it to the mirror above my computer screen.
Write to help others find joy in the midst of their challenges and remind them who they are - a child of a Heavenly Father who loves them.hugs~