Throughout our lives all of us depend on others for help. When we were infants adults fed, clothed, and cared for us. Without this care we would have died. When we grew up other people taught us skills, knowledge and attitudes. Many of us have needed nursing care during illness or money in a financial crisis. Some of us ask God to bless suffering people and then do nothing for them. We must remember that God works through us to serve others if we are open to his promptings. An ancient prophet taught, “…When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God…” (Mosiah 2: 17 in the Book of Mormon)
Be Aware of Other’s Needs
Alaina Dunn tells her story of how a friend helped her through her depression.
“I had always thought of myself as a healthy person. So I was shocked when I woke up one morning feeling like my chest was being squeezed so hard it was about to explode. I was rushed to the hospital, but after hours of testing, doctors couldn’t find the problem. They sent me home, even though I still suffered excruciating pain. Thus began a seven-month-long ordeal of doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, and the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I started to become depressed. I had to drop my college classes and move back in with my parents. I couldn’t go out with friends. I hurt too much to do any of my hobbies. I felt that everything I cared about—my aspirations, my relationships, my talents—had been shattered, and now the pieces of my former self seemed impossible to put back together. And I started to wonder: How could Heavenly Father let this happen to me? Didn’t He love me? After yet another disappointing and painful doctor’s appointment, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry. But as I arrived home, I saw something strange on the porch: an old, tattered shoebox covered in tape and addressed to me. A letter on the box revealed that the package came from one of my friends. She had heard that I was sick and wanted to cheer me up. When I opened the shoebox, I found that it was full of little pieces of Styrofoam. It was a homemade puzzle made especially for me. As I put the puzzle together, I began to cry. The puzzle formed my name, surrounded by sweet messages of love and encouragement. I felt that the shattered pieces of myself were now being put back together as I assembled my friend’s gift. A short time later, I started taking a medication that reduced my symptoms and helped the doctors make a diagnosis. I had a rare but treatable condition, and with the proper medicine, I could return to normal life. Even as my body healed, I knew I would never forget what I had learned. Because of my friend’s sweet gift, I knew that I was loved and that Heavenly Father had not forgotten me. After months of feeling shattered, thanks to the kindness of a friend and the love of my Father in Heaven, I became whole again.” (Alaina Dunn, “He Put Me Back Together” October 2020 in the Liahona Magazine)
The Savior’s Example
Just before His Crucifixion the Savior met with His disciples. After teaching them, He took a basin of water and a towel and washed their feet (John 13:4–10 in the Bible) In those days washing a visitor’s feet was a sign of honor and was usually done by a servant. Jesus did it as an example of love and service. When we willingly serve others in the spirit of love, we become more like Jesus Christ.
Gratitude for Friends
The Lord spoke the word friend almost with a reverence. He said, “Ye are my friends…” (John 15: 14 in the Bible) True friends put up with our idiosyncrasies. They can have a profound influence over us and can bring joy and happiness to our lives. To have the positive influence of friends in our lives we need to be a good friend to others. When was the last time you thanked a loved one for being your friend in word and action? Take the time to do so often and the bonds of friendship will strengthen.