Sunday, January 04, 2009

service meme

Mark,The Mo'Boy, has tagged me with an interesting meme: To write about a time when I was the recipient of service, about a time when I gave service, and a time when I witnessed service being done by one person to another. Then to ask a few more of you to do the same and to see how far this service meme can go, perhaps to inspire us all to do more.

This meme has taken me a very long time to write. It's a difficult thing for me to write down certain things, some that feel almost sacred in a way. Service is like that for me at times, others just plain ol' fun!

I have been the receiver of service more times that I can possible write about and it humbles me to think that so many have given so much to me. Do I write about the "secret service" I have had, those times when someone gave gently used clothing to our family in time of need, or perhaps the time my sister has come to my aide and spent a couple of days helping me out of a tough situation by cooking up a storm? The fact is, I have so many examples of service that has been given to me and my family that it overwhelms me to think about it!

My mother and father in law come to mind also. It seems to me they were always the first to show up when I needed help with my kids. Those times when I needed to be with one child and leave the rest in their care. Most of the time it was with our first, because of his illness and his unexpected stays in the hospital. There is the service where a dear friend listened to the Spirit and made an extra unscheduled visit one day. That particular afternoon was late spring, warm and perfect for visiting friends. Earlier in the day all of my kids and I had gone to a neighbor's to enjoy their back yard swing set while I chatted with the mom. We walked back home in time for naps. As soon as everyone had been sent to bed the knock at the door brought in my friend Lorraine.

Lorraine had seen me a few days earlier and told me she just felt she needed to come by one more time to check if we needed anything. My usually obedient and constant napper of a six year old kept coming in and buzzing around Loraine like a fly. I kept insisting he go back to bed and he kept being naughty and literally laid down on the floor in front of Lorraine.

She commented on the bruises on the backs of his legs. Large thick deep purple bruises striped his thighs. He looked like he had been hit by a two by four, and hard. (in reality, the weight of his own tiny body, sitting on the swing, caused the bruises on his thighs.) I explained I thought he was low on potassium and had scheduled a visit with the pediatrician and that it was a few days from now. I showed her other smaller bruises that he had collected, on his back, on his arms, all over his tiny frame. I rationalized that he was six and we lived in the desert, rocks, dirt and plenty of opportunities to bang a little body lacking a few nutrients -nothing a couple of bananas wouldn't fix.

She looked me square in the eye and told me to forget the appointment. She didn't want to alarm me but he looked just like her nephew who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. She insisted I take him that afternoon, right away, wake the other kids and get him checked. Her voice told me she wasn't kidding, so I did as she said.

Long story short: It was not leukemia, however it was rare and serious, potentially fatal, incurable for his particular case. His platelets should have been 250 thousand, when we checked in his blood count showed 24 thousand and by 6:30 that night he was down to 12. Our son was bleeding out and would have died that night if I hadn't listened to her. That night turned into a very long and difficult 6 years. Both Lorraine and her husband gave us service all through those 6 years and then some. They supported us in ways that was more than average friendship and an true example of Christ like love.

Service because someone listened and followed through on a prompting.

I remember an older gal in our ward (congregation) who had diabetes and had progressed to the point of her sight being so diminished she could not see clearly enough to give herself injections. There were many of us involved with her care, and my part of the schedule was first thing in the morning. I would wake up and be at her house every morning at 6:30 sharp. First I would test her blood, then make the proper adjustments in her meds, and then help her give herself the injection. Then I would prepare her breakfast while we chatted about the day and her schedule while she ate, recheck the blood and then I would be on my way. I looked forward to this time with her and after a few months she decided that she needed to move to Vegas to be with her family. It was sad to see her go, and really, looking back on that time I wonder who was giving the service to who. I got so much from those early morning sessions that I doubt I gave her more than she gave me.

It's always the same, service becomes fun. Another friend of mine was pregnant and at four months her membrane ruptured and she was flown to Loma Linda University Hospital. She was placed in isolation and monitored for the rest of her pregnancy. Five months hooked up to monitors, unable to even walk around, other than back and forth to the bathroom -with a nurse's help- she laid flat on her back to keep her baby from being born. I had a slew of kids myself and couldn't really do anything for her during the week, so every Sunday until the baby was born I would go to church, then hop in the car and drive an hour to Loma Linda and spend the evening with her. We would laugh and chat and fill each other in on all the local "news". I would sneak her goodies, In-N-Out cheeseburgers or a shake, malt balls (none of which she was supposed to have!), and I decorated her room with streamers and humorous posters and whatever I could do on the cheap. I would ask different people to ride along with me from time to time, and we all had such a great time. That baby finally came, grew up, served a mission and is ready to get married! Good times!

I have a friend, Jann, who was asked to go to the women in a nearby prison and tend to their Spiritual needs. She was given training and a strict outline of what she was allowed and prohibited from doing and saying, and given a specific schedule for visiting. During her service there she listened to the women, she read their eyes and answered their questions. Although she did not condone their reasons for being in the prison she did not judge the women on a personal level. She was able to find the Child of God in each woman, find ways to respect them and see them as God sees them. Listening to her describe her experiences there, with softly cracking voice and tear filled eyes, I know she genuinely loves these women. She became the true representation of Christ for them. I am in awe of her service.

Now it's your turn! I will warn you this is a tough one. It's hard to share these things, but it is inspiring to reread them and rekindle those feelings. Please give it a go! I challenge anyone who reads this. Let me know when you post and I will send folks over to your blog to check it out.

Specifically I am going to challenge:




I am excited to read your stories!

add to sk*rt


Geek+Nerd said...

Wow - I've got tears in my eyes! I might have to marinate on this one for awhile - your post will be hard to live up to!

The Pea said...

Wow, Thank you for thinking of me! This will be a tough one But so fun, I will get on it right away!

S'mee said...

G+N, it took me forever to get this post is hard! But thanks so much, I am sure you will have a wonderful post!

Pea, I can't wait to read your either! This is a great meme, don't you think?