Angels In Our Midst
The goal of this section is to share ideas of service and charity. We often over look the good people around us, not recognizing that there are many "angels" among us. It will always be about real people, although the name will not always be given. I am hoping many will write and share experiences you have with "angels in your midst."
Only a life lived for others is worth living. - Albert Einstein
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that we cannot sincerely help another without helping ourselves.
Articles In This Section of Errand of Angels
|Do Good Anyway|
|"People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;|
|love them anyway.|
|If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;|
|do good anyway.|
|If you're successful, you win false friends and make true enemies;|
|try to succeed anyway.|
|The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow;|
|be good anyway.|
|Honesty and frankness will get you nowhere; they make you vulnerable;|
|be honest and frank anyway.|
|What you spend days building may be destroyed overnight;|
|do it anyway.|
|People really need help but they attack you if you try to help them;|
|Give the world the best you have and you get kicked in the mouth;|
|give the world the best you have anyway."|
----------Dr. Kent M. Keith -------
"It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulty in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from such individuals that all human failures spring." -- Alfred Adler
|Although our family generally never lacked for the
necessities, one year was unusual. My father was unemployed a lot of that year. It was a
difficult as we tried to keep our circumstances a private matter. I was a teenager and
girls camp was coming up. I had gone the last three years and wanted very much to go
again. However, going required money, and even the baby-sitting money I earned was needed
to help buy what little food we had. Camp was not a financial possibility. Because we did
not want anyone to know our circumstances, I simply said I did not want to go to camp.
For weeks I was very sad. Then just two weeks before camp, one of the leaders gave me a list of the things to bring. Surprised, I said I did not need it since I would not be going. She then looked very surprised and said perhaps I did not want to go, but obviously my parents wanted me to since they had already turned in the money!
Bewildered, I went home and asked, but my parents had not only not paid the money, but were just as surprised as I was. They had no idea who even knew or had guessed the real reason for my not going.
It seemed I had the best time of all at that summer camp. Looking back I am sure it had more to do with my attitude than anything else. As a result of this one small act of kindness, my love for all the people in the ward increased dramatically. Since I had no idea who had been so kind, I looked around the room every single Sunday as I tried to guess who the kind, insightful person was. The result was only the best thoughts and love for every person there. I saw the good in each one of them as I imagined them being my personal good Samaritan. I learned first hand why more good comes from an act done anonymously.
This person has never known how much difference they made in life. It was not because of the momentary happiness it gave me at camp, but because of the love it gave to me to share and the example it set for a young women.
"Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be." -- Goethe
An Angel To a Child in Need
Debra Oaks Coe (c)
|While we were living in Germany, there was a wonderful
sister who lived in our ward. I was fortunate enough to have her as my visiting teacher
and I looked forward to her coming each month just for the joy she brought with her. She
was so cheerful that I would often comment on it to others. There was definitely something
different about her.
I didn't get to know Sister Larson as well as I would have liked since she returned to the US a few months after we arrived. She and her husband had six children, but only one was still at home. This daughter was in her twenties and had the same cheery disposition her mother had. She was quiet around adults, but obviously got along well with children; I even heard one inviting her over for a slumber party once. Although I never asked, I knew that this girl had been adopted because of the obvious difference in nationality. It was also obvious that she was mentally handicapped. Occasionally, I wondered how they had come to adopt her.
In the fall, Sister Larson and her daughter returned to their home in Texas while Brother Larson stayed in Germany for just a couple of more months. Just prior to his departing to join his family, he gave a talk on giving. Without his wife there to object, he talked about her. I am sure her entire life has been centered around giving, but he concentrated on the circumstances surrounding the adoption of this daughter. Lacking all the details, here are the ones that stand out most in my mind:
Even though they already had four children of their own, they wanted so much to have another. They were living in Korea at the time and there was an orphanage from which they might be able to adopt a child.
This was a troubled country at that time and there were many orphans and unwanted children. Infanticide had been high in recent years and some of the orphan children had lived on the streets where they were subjected to all kinds of abuse. I don't want to burden you with the details, but even to kill these children in slow cruel ways was not unheard of. These children were looked upon by some as subhuman. -- [I was recently reminded by a woman who was an orphan from this same country, but fortunate enough to be adopted at the age of nine and brought to the US, that there are children here too that scream everyday in need of help.]
Soon the Larsons learned about some twins they might be able to adopt. After much trouble they were finally able to get them. But there was one problem, they were told that while one twin was fine, the other was not. The doctors weren't sure how severe the problems were, but it was strongly recommended that they only take the healthy baby. This would have been an easy decision, after all, they had originally only asked for one.
Without hesitation, Sister Larson took them both as her own. She knew that handicapped children especially, did not always survive for very long there.
Taking this child was not only giving her a wonderful life she would not otherwise have had, but may in fact have preserved this girl's life. It seems such a simple decision to take a baby, but what is left unsaid is that this decision represented a lifetime of unselfish giving.
Brother Larson told the story in a way that touched all of us. There were many tears in the congregation. Was it worth all their efforts and sacrifice to save this one human being? One only needed to know her and to be lifted by her spirit to agree it was worth all the effort. As I sat there, I thought of the poem "Who Does God's Work Will Get God's Pay" as quoted by President Benson.
Finally I knew why Sister Larson was so cheery and so inspiring to the rest of us. She had spent many years unselfishly serving "one of the least of these." She had been doing God's work and had already received this gift as only a small part of His pay.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." -- Aristotle
Linda Cherry (c) 1997
I've always felt fiercely loyal to people that others tend to look down on, and I noticed a lonely old widow in our ward who didn't seem to me to get much attention. So I adopted her as my grandma. I was 14. She lived close by my Jr. high school, and I would drag my group of friends over there and make her day by having lunch with her and introducing my friends, and looking at her pictures and listening to her stories. In church, I always took care to sit her with my family and make a huge fuss over her. Well, one Easter, I showed up in a pretty pastel dress my mom had sewn for me, and this sister was so excited to show me what she had brought me. She said I just COULDN'T go to church without an Easter bonnet. I think she was from Denmark and bonnets were the thing there. She gave me this terribly old hat that was black and had white lace on it.
It really didn't go at all with my dress and was obviously old and out of style to boot, but when my friends told me I looked ugly in it, I held my head high and jutted out my chin (sign of stubbornness) and said I was NOT going to hurt an old woman's feelings just for the sake of fashion. I wore that ugly old hat all day long to each meeting and stared back at everyone who stared with a gutsy "so what about it?" look in the eye. Nobody said a word. This little adopted grandma was so terribly thrilled that I wore her old hat and gave it to me as a present.
Would you doubt me for a moment if I told you that I still have that old hat and that it is one of my very most precious, prized possessions?
Linda Cherry (c) 1997
This took place in Pocatello, Idaho several years ago in the old 10th ward. I can't remember her first name, but her last name was Young, so I called her Gramma Young and kind of laughed cuz she was very old. I think Sister Young was Danish because when I took my friends over to her house for lunches, she always made us "Aebleskivers" which is a Danish pastry, kind of like donuts or pancakes. I've since bought my own Aebleskiver pan to make those same treats.
(* Indicates it is mainly an LDS site)
Catholic Digest/ Face To Face With Mother Teresa: This in an outstanding article about what one man learned when talking with Mother Teresa. She had some very good insights on "poverty" is and why true charity, not money is the answer.
Every day Good Samaritans: This site has some good stories about ordinary people helping others and making a difference. Little things make big differences in the long run of life.
What Do Angels Look Like?: An outstanding poem about "angels" and how they come in all shapes and sizes -- why because many are people like you and me -- we can choose to be angels in others lives.