Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"I Need Help"

A few years ago, my telephone rang late one Sunday evening. The caller introduced himself as Matt and said that he was calling from his wife’s hospital room. I was only vaguely aware of their critical situation, but upon hearing the distress in his voice, I was eager and willing to help in any way possible.

A few days earlier, Matt’s wife, Wendy, had broken her neck in a bicycle accident near my town in Pennsylvania. Miraculously, she was alive and able to move, but she had been flown by helicopter to the hospital within walking distance of my home. The situation was made that much more difficult for them, because they were hundreds of miles from their own home, their family, and the help of their ward. However, it hadn’t taken long for them to track down two members of our ward’s Elder’s Quorum—my husband and his good friend, both hospital employees—to assist in giving Wendy a priesthood blessing. After the blessing, the two friends had offered words of comfort, and then quickly scrawled their phone numbers on little scraps of paper, encouraging Matt to “call us if you need anything!”

My husband told me about Wendy and the Priesthood blessing, but unaware of the details and having never met them, I was struggling to determine just how we could help and hoped they would call if they really needed us. I was relieved that night to hear Matt introduce himself to me on the phone. He briefly explained more about the situation, and then with a slight hesitation in his voice, he uttered three small words that would change my life for the next few months and perhaps forever. He simply and humbly said, “I need help.”

That was all that he needed to say. From that day on, a special feeling came into my heart, into my home, and extended throughout our entire ward as we all engaged in an effort to help. Because our home is so close to the hospital, we became sort of a headquarters for visiting family and friends. We gladly opened our doors and were blessed with many new and special friendships. The sisters in our ward rallied around their family and delivered meal after meal to those staying with Wendy. The brethren provided the sacrament and assisted in Priesthood blessings as needed. We visited, comforted, sang Primary songs, delivered goodies, and helped the best we could while Wendy lay patiently in traction for over eight weeks, enduring endless trials of her own.

One afternoon, as I was making up beds in my basement for a new group of visitors scheduled to arrive that evening, my children were laughing and playing on the beds, overcome with excitement at the prospect of more guests. I had been working diligently to prepare my home, and I felt so much joy in my heart as my hands smoothed out the clean sheets and fluffed the pillows. The laughter of my children echoed around the room, causing me to smile. Rarely before had I felt so needed by someone outside of my family, and a special spirit was filling our home. We were truly feeling the happiness that comes from service. I was so grateful for the opportunity that had come into my life and for the way it had seemed to lighten my load.

Throughout the entire time, Matt and Wendy were incredibly gracious and expressed their gratitude over and over. On the eve of their departure after nearly two months in our town, my family went for one last visit to say good-bye and to wish them well. Again, they offered their sincere thanks for the assistance we had offered them. I merely shook my head. How could I ever thank them for the blessings which they had allowed to come into my life? Our eyes glistened and our voices caught as we said our final farewells. I will never forget the coldness of the steel apparatus supporting Wendy’s neck, which prevented us from really embracing. It was in stark contrast to the warmth I felt in my heart towards our new friends. Wendy and I grasped hands and said a tearful good-bye. I was so thankful that Matt had been willing to call and ask for our help.

Shortly after this experience, I was standing at the bus stop on a bright and sunny afternoon. I was visiting with my neighbor while we waited for our school children to arrive home. She is a close friend of mine, and on that day I briefly complained to her about the nagging headache I had been suffering with for the past few days. It wasn’t the debilitating, stay-in-bed type of headache, just a dull nuisance that was interfering with my day. Just then, the bus arrived and delivered our smiling children. We said our good-byes and each went to our separate homes.
About an hour later, I received a phone call from my friend, who happens to be my visiting teacher as well. “I know your head has been hurting,” I heard her say, “and I was wondering if I could bring your family dinner tonight.” My first response was to refuse, embarrassed that I had even mentioned my headache, and to assure her that I’d be fine.
But she persisted, “Are you sure? I’m happy to do it.” I immediately thought of all that I had learned and experienced recently pertaining to the joys of service. I thought of my own desires to serve others and realized that in the goodness of her heart, she had those same desires. I hesitated slightly, and then did something that I rarely do except in dire circumstances, I accepted her help.

When she handed me the tray of dinner a while later, I thought of her four small children, the long hours her husband works at the hospital, and the mess she must have made in her kitchen. I suddenly felt embarrassed that I had let her help me. Then, I looked into her sweet face. Her eyes were bright, and she was smiling at me. It was almost as if I could see the joy in heart. Her dinner was delicious, and I appreciated her thoughtfulness so much. Maybe, just maybe, she went to bed that night grateful that she had been able to serve, and I hope and pray that her burdens felt lighter not heavier that day.

I have been taught my whole life about the importance of giving service, but until recently, I hadn’t given much thought to the importance of accepting it. It isn’t always easy to accept help, however, especially when we feel so undeserving. The Savior Himself showed us the way when he said “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28, 30).” He is actually pleading with us to accept His help. He is, by far, the most willing and earnest friend we will ever have. He is waiting, and watching, and hoping that every single one of us will turn to Him and ask for His help. There is no other way.

Truthfully, not one of us can make it through this life without our Savior. But, we must be willing to ask for His help. In Matthew 7:7-8, it says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth…” Ask and ye shall receive! That thought is repeated numerous times throughout the scriptures. We are never too undeserving or too unworthy to pray for help.

We cannot do it all alone. That is the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned about the joys of service. I am grateful that Matt and Wendy asked for my help, which opened the door to so many blessings in my life. I have learned many things from their example, and when life’s trials and troubles come my way, which they inevitably will, I hope that I will be more willing to allow others to help me, too. The acts of giving and receiving service knit our hearts together with love. But beyond anything or anyone on this earth, there is One who stands at the door and knocks. It is my testimony that our Savior Jesus Christ anxiously awaits those three small words that only we, in humility, can utter to Him—“I need help.” And I know He will answer us every single time.


Shawnee said...

What a great experience! Thanks for sharing.

pepper said...

This is such a lovely post, it's so true and important. Thank you for sharing.

Christie K said...

A great reminder of what we all should be striving for in our lives. thanks for the post, I have always enjoyed reading your writings. you have a grest tslent with words!!

Anonymous said...

Rindi, thanks for the lift. I loved your message. I am so thankful for your beautiful testimony. Love, Mom

Tami said...

Rindi, that was so powerful! Thank you so much for sharing that message. It is true that it is hard to accept and ask for help but it blesses so many people. What a great reminder!

weston's said...

Wow Rindi that was such a great message. Thank you so much that really touched my heart. You are the best. You are very easy to come to when I need help. Love ya!

Trent and Amber Whiting said...

Rindi, I have been reading you guys' blog since I saw that you had it posted on facebook. I love your post! It made me reflect alot on my life and think about the times when I could have helped someone more! I am going to try to look for ways to give service instead of waiting for someone to ask! Thanks!!! Amber Whiting

David said...

I want to thank you for all you and your ward family did for my brother Matt and his family. Living in Texas, I was about as far away as you can be and I felt so helpless. You all were answers to numerous prayers. It was incredible to witness such a miracle as we did with Wendy's recovery.

It was so nice to read your story and feel the Spirit. A few years ago Hurricane Ike hit Houston. It caused a lot of damage to our neighbors homes. It was such a blessing to be able to go around and help people. It was a very happy time, to be of service to others in need.

Thanks for all you did and for sharing your story. God bless you.

emilyw said...

Rindi, You are an incredible writer! This message just flowed and carried the spirit so well. And what an amazing experience you had in helping a family. Accepting help has always been hard for me - it's great to know I'm not alone.

I found the link to your blog on your facebook and had to take a peek. What a great idea!

Emily Walkenhorst

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