Whenever I take a road trip to my sister’s house on the Oregon coast, I usually take my young granddaughter, Samantha, along. She didn’t get to come the last time I went, so I promised I would find something special to bring home to her. I bought her some darling starfish earrings at a local gift shop but I wanted to create something unique and extraordinary, from my heart to hers. We have gone on several photography adventures together and she has some idea of what it takes to make a good picture, so I decided I would create a photograph that would represent some of the best summer days we have shared together. Even at her young age, I knew she would understand the effort and love that went into making it.
After choosing the best starfish for our project among my sister’s collection, my husband and I drove to Sami’s favorite swimming beach and got to work looking for just the right spot. I wanted a hint of shadow, the sand to be damp but not drenched, the water and rocks in the background, and of course no footprints. As I lay down on the sand with my camera, my husband stood just out of frame and reached in to place the starfish. It took a few attempts to get all the elements right, but we were both happy with the end results.
When Sami saw the picture, she loved it instantly. She had questions about where we got the starfish, what beach it was, and how did we ever do it without getting any footprints!?
As much as she liked the photograph, what she liked even more was that I took the time and effort to create something just for her. In her little girl heart, she understood the meaning and the message and the love behind it all.
It didn’t take long to create the picture. Just a bit of planning and effort that wasn’t really hard to do. But the outcome of that small labor will last a lifetime and whenever she sees that picture, she will remember and feel the love.
I’ve thought a lot about that lately with the realization that I certainly could do better in my daily interactions with people. It doesn’t take much to smile, to waive hello, send a text, or make a call. A few minutes of effort can brighten someone’s day. In our very busy world, we are faced with stresses and problems-a-plenty and everyone can use a little extra kindness and attention. The added bonus is that when we take the time to make a positive difference in someone else’s life, we feel better ourselves.
At the end of the Savior’s mortal life, after He instituted the sacrament in the upper room before the agony and gift of Gethsemane and Golgotha, He gave important instructions to His apostles (and us) including a new commandment to love one another as He has loved.
Loving like that is powerful and profound as both the giver and the receiver are changed. When someone believes in us by showing love, we find it easier to believe in ourselves and have faith in our ability to stand tall in our wicked world.
If faith is a principle of power, (and it most definitely is) then we should do all we can to increase our faith along with those around us that we might stand together and with the Lord’s help, overcome the world.
Henry B. Erying has taught that: “Just the way you smile or the way you offer to help someone can build their faith.”
He also gave a sobering warning: “And should you forget who you are, just the way you speak and the way you behave can destroy faith.”
Oh what power we have as children of God!
I believe that the Lord never commands us to do anything without providing a way for us to accomplish that command. Since He said we need to love as He has loved, then I have every confidence that He will help me to achieve what would otherwise be impossible.
I will reach out and try everyday because…