I have enjoyed two inspiring weekends centered around general conference messages by the leaders of our church. I was impressed by all of it, but an admonition from Julie B. Beck (who is the General President of our women's organization, the Relief Society) kept resurfacing in (what's left of) my mind. She said:
"We also have the opportunity to assist the Lord by providing relief for others, which is the greatest, fastest solution to loneliness and hopelessness and a sure way to obtain the companionship of the Spirit. All we need to do to start offering relief is get on our knees and ask, 'Who needs my help?'"
It reminded me of a quote by former church president Spencer W. Kimball, who said, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."
I remembered Sister Beck's admonition yesterday after my morning prayers, so it became a "p.s." kind of thing: "Who needs my help?" And within minutes of offering that addendum, the phone rang. It was someone who needed my help. Someone who has recently been diagnosed with the same cancer, and who was put in touch with me through a mutual friend. We just chatted for a while, but I remembered how much I appreciated talking with "experienced" people when I was in that time of life, and I hoped that our conversation was providing some relief.
Generous gratitude was expressed at the conclusion of our phone call. But of course, when I hung up the phone I felt happier myself, having found a new friend and another good use for earlier pains. I wondered if maybe I was the person who needed and received help that day. There was another addendum to my morning prayer -- one of gratitude for the counsel of inspired leaders, and for such a quick response to that simple question, "Who needs my help?".
Everyone should try this -- it works! Maybe the phone won't always ring right away. Maybe the "who" is someone under our own noses (in our families or at work or school) instead of a new person crossing our path. Maybe the help is small and simple enough to seem inconsequential in our view (although a lot of great things happen through the small and simple). I am sure that we will always find opportunities to meet the needs of others (and even help ourselves as a natural consequence) if we prayerfully seek those opportunities.