Can you believe the goings-on of nature these last couple of month? So many ‘worst ever’ storms, floods, rains, and wipe outs.  According to the scriptures, it should not surprise us to have these devastations upon us.  I’m not sure, though, that most of us foresaw a time when our governments would run out of proper funds to help, or be stretched to such a limit.  But the prophets did.

Thus, the clarion call for emergency preparedness and storage of food and other personal items.  If we’re wiped out in a storm, at least we know we were obedient to the Lord’s command to be prepared. And “If (we) are prepared, (we) need not fear.” [Doctrine & Covenants 38:30.

Though we may, in fact, go hungry or lose all we temporally have, our hearts will be right with the Lord, and we know that His blessings will be ours.

There are wonderful writers here at Meridian who much better address the ‘how’s’ and “what’s” of preparedness than I can manage. But I can share a few thoughts relative to what we may do when we’re the ones watching all this craziness with destruction, or trials and adversity that come in so many ways:

  • Pray. Specifically.  It is felt by those who need those prayers.
  • Figure out a way to do something useful.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal – just a kindness from the heart.
  • Think outside the box, so your thoughtfulness and pondering will grant you clarity regarding a bit of help that would matter and genuinely make a difference.
  • Stay plugged in. It’s good to know others are thinking of us- enough to keep in touch during the hard times.
  • Be appropriate. There’s a time for everything. If a loved one or casual friend seems like he may be lifted up by merriment or a laugh, then go for it. But if not, it’s good to remember that sometimes it’s simply not a help to force a laugh.  [Especially if we ‘go there’ because we are the one who is uncomfortable.]
  • Find someone to help. Through networking, listening to announcements, paying attention to news, noting little comments made in our social networks, we’ll figure a way to do something useful. 
  • Keep a little notebook of some of the service we offer. Not to gloat or to share with any other person, but to remind ourselves of how good we felt when reaching out to someone else. It may shake us out of a current ‘dark time’ of our own, cause an inward smile as we remember that good feeling, or motivate us to do keep on doing the things that really matter.
  • Share a hug and a tear.  The story of the little boy who asked to visit an old man sitting on his porch, who had just lost his wife, comes to mind.  The little one walked across the street and hopped up on the old man’s lap.  After quite some time, he returned home. When his parents asked what he’d said to Mr. Richards, their son said, “Nothing, mommy. I just helped him cry.”    On some occasions, isn’t that the sweetest gift we can offer?

Now, here comes the best part: What if we don’t wait for a catastrophe or great grief in order to help? Everyone is fighting some kind of battle. There are weights that bear down on each person’s shoulders, at one time or another.  Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we could be the one to make such a difference for good.  “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today” [LDS Hymnal # 227] teaches a powerful principle of sharing the light of gospel goodness.

Hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choiir sing “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today”:

If we have a tendency to wait until we can figure out a ‘bigger’ or ‘grander’ way to help, maybe we could take a deep breath and just do a little something.  Those “little somethings” are often the most beautiful ways of helping.

Even in the midst of our own devastations and tribulations, we can be one to reach out with kindness and caring to somebody in the same boat.   It is the divine spark inside that whispers, “I can do this.” or “I must do something- right now!” that makes extraordinary folks out of ‘regular people’, like most of us are.  And we can do a little something right now.  Before we get caught up in the next “Have-to” or forget, yet another day, this important part of our mortal journey.

President Thomas S. Monson once posed this question:

Perhaps when we face our maker, we will not be asked, ‘How many positions did you hold,’ but rather, ‘How many people did you help?”

At that great day when we face our maker, won’t it be a wonderful, sweet blessing to report that we tried to help a brother or a sister, literally or figuratively, on a daily basis?  God bless us to become more and more inclined to live in this more excellent way.

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who had the blessing of finding the LDS Church as a teenager.  She has worked for many years to learn to be more Christ-like and to share her testimony with other folks. Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, she sums up her journey thus far like this: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  She  has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Her latest venture is to create a website to focus on, bring attention to, and grow the goodness in this world. Visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com