Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lift up the hands that hang down....

Baggage claim is probably not an unusual place to meet your future mother-in-law for the first time, but it might seem like a strange place to get a lesson in kindness and compassion. In an odd sort of way, it's an appropriate place to offer help to others ("May I help you with your bags?"), and yes, even to give comfort. I like the idea that as we claim our own 'baggage' we should lift the burdens of others.

Robert's nephew's wedding was just a few days off, and his mother and brother had come to town to attend. This would be my first time meeting them both. I was comfortable and nervous at the same time. But that's another story.

As we entered the baggage claim area, Robert's mother called our attention to a young woman waiting to claim her bags. She explained that they had sat together on the plane. The woman was returning to her home after having buried her mother, who had died of cancer. Mom said, "My heart just breaks for her, she has had to face this all alone." Then I watched Robert move to the woman's side and as he assisted her with her bags, he offered condolences, compassion and hope as he shared his cancer journey (which at that time was limited to the cancer of his late wife) and tender encouragement. The whole thing took just moments. She turned and I saw a smile on her tear-stained face. But as he turned back to me, he had a sort of sheepish look on his face. He whispered to me, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to leave you standing there, I just had to say something to her to reassure her." I assured him that it was a good thing to do and I wasn't offended in the least, in fact, I was pleased he had done so. You see, I already knew that about Robert, and it is no surprise that this has been the pattern of our lives ever since; to lift those around us and give tender love and support to others. I am certain that Robert is better at it than I am.

As my boys prepared to serve their missions, a particular song became a sort of theme song in our home. The words explain how, although sometimes we are timid about sharing the Good News of the Gospel, the Lord gives us the strength to speak, and by so doing we too are changed. The song is meant to be about missionary work, but it applies to so much more in life. As we listen to, lift and help others in their journey, the testimony we bear of truths we know become stronger and we too are lifted and strengthened as a result. Many times, a question I have faced has been answered as the Spirit gives me words to say to help someone else. It makes me want to dance for the joy I feel...that God loves me so much to guide me as I help others and by so doing help myself. I never want things to always be the same, I want to savor and enjoy every moment (every experience) that comes into my life on this earth. I want, no, I need the strength and peace that comes from lifting others and from bearing testimony of wonderful eternal truths. I find so much peaceful joy as we visit with our children and grandchildren, with our friends and even with strangers. I am certain that God loves me, that He has a plan for me and for my family. He has shown me over and over again that His plan is SO much better than anything I can imagine in my little mind, and His tender mercies remind me that I- we- are in His hands.

And so, this morning, as the phone rang and a stranger somewhere in New Jersey explained how she had gotten Robert's number from the Cancer Survivor's Network, I know it will be a joyous day, because I hear him say, "The thing that gives me the most strength is my faith in God and keeping a positive attitude." And I remembered the woman in the airport and her smiling, tear-stained face.

Lifting the hands that hang down in sorrow,
Strengthening knees that bend in despair,
Reaching the hopeless hearts who do not know His love,
Seeing their lives begin to change, I know I'll never be the same.
How can I keep this gift to myself when I can lift somebody else?
I am a witness of His miracles and His mercy.
I put my future in his hands knowing He's made me all I am.
When I put my faith in Him the truth begins to speak.
His power is real, It moves me until I will not be still.

~("I Will Not Be Still", by Tyler Castleton, Staci Peters, and Greg Simpson)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Thank you for writing. Please keep it up and one day let's print it for your grandkids to read and learn from your testimony and experiences.

  2. Kathleen, this is lovely. You are a gifted writer as well as a wonderful helpmeet and comforter. I love your joyful attitude. Gratefully, Melanie

  3. Aww, thanks! That makes me's the reason I do it! :)