Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Moving Experience

Packing up everything in your home and moving it someplace else can be an overwhelming task. You don’t realize how much “stuff” you have until you try to pack it up and fit it in a truck. Just when you think you have things under control, you find another cupboard you forgot to empty, or you run out of boxes to pack things in. Some of the worst things are the odds and ends scattered throughout the house that manage to avoid getting packed into boxes until the very end.

During the past couple of days, we’ve had the opportunity to help a family in our ward prepare to move to another city. Despite their good-natured accusations that we’ve just been trying to get them out of here faster, we’re sad to see them go; they’ve been good friends and great assets to our ward.

As we and several other ward members helped this family last night with those pesky odds and ends and the ever-looming house-scrubbing, I remembered the help we received during one of our own moves. It was when we moved from our apartment in student housing to a house in the city. Feeling over-ambitious, we decided to fix some things in our new house before packing up our apartment. We were sure we had enough time to make our renovations before we had to get packed.

To make a long story short, the work we wanted to do on our new house was much more difficult and time-consuming than we’d anticipated. We finally had to admit defeat and turn our attention toward packing and cleaning our apartment. And the evening before we had to be out (by 7:00 in the morning), we weren’t anywhere near finished. We were already exhausted from the packing and moving we’d done so far, and all the work we’d tried to do on the house before that. At that point, I felt very small and pathetic as I followed the move-out checklist from student housing and attempted to clean the windows of our apartment with a bottle of Windex and a stack of newspapers and tried not to think about the catastrophe in the rest of the apartment.

One of the nice things about student housing at the University of Utah is that your apartment complex is also your ward. Ward leaders, home and visiting teachers, and those you have stewardship over yourself are all right there. And when the Relief Society president strolled by and saw me struggling with the windows, she not only offered to help but she also rounded up a couple of other sisters to come help as well.

That was several years ago, and it still means a lot to me now. The few hours that they spent cleaning windows and scrubbing the kitchen probably made the difference between us getting out on time and paying a fine, for starters. But there was more to it than that. It meant so much to know that others cared enough to help us with our struggles—even though those struggles could have been avoided if we’d used our time more wisely in the first place. They didn’t judge us for that. They didn’t even ask why we had so much to do at the last minute. They just went to work, knowing full well that we were moving out of the ward and we wouldn’t be around to repay the favor when they needed help in the future. It was help we perhaps didn’t deserve, but desperately needed all the same.

I’d like to wrap this up with a profound statement, but anything I can think of to say only sounds arrogant. I just know that, no matter how often I have to remind myself of this, helping others truly feels good. The Lord meets the needs of His children through the hands of others. Sometimes that means others are sent to help us. Other times it means we are sent to help others.


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