Thursday, February 19, 2009

Service in the Snow

It was snowing heavily, and I was very late. I hurried from the stake center foyer out into the flurry, turned on my car, and shivered as I brushed the snow off the windshield only a little more quickly than the snow piled back on. After clearing off my car as much as I could, I jumped back in and turned up the heater. As I reached out my hand to shift into drive, I felt an impression to go back outside and brush the snow off the car next to me.

I hesitated. The Saturday enrichment activity had started late because of the snow, so I was nearly an hour behind the time I said I would be home. My family had other plans for that day, and I was already really late. But, the Spirit said to my heart, cleaning the snow off the car next to me would only take five minutes, which wouldn’t make that much of a difference to my plans. I yielded.

I didn’t know whose car it was or who I was helping as I brushed the snow off the car next to me. I comforted myself with the fact that the inside of my care would be all the warmer when I finished and went back inside my own vehicle. As I scraped away the snow from the other car, I mused about how great the service I was giving could be. Maybe if I scraped one sister’s car, she would clear the snow from the car next to her, and soon there’s be this great, big, wonderful chain of service in our ward Relief Society that morning, all started by me.

When I finished clearing the snow I probably had more snow stuck to my coat than there was snow left on the other car, but my car had heated up nicely on the inside. I pulled out of my parking spot cheering by my visionary service domino effect. But just as I was leaving the parking lot, I saw a sister with a stroller hurry out of the building and unlock the car that had been next to me.

Suddenly I was so grateful, and very humbled, that I had followed the prompting to clear the snow off of this sister’s car. I didn’t know her very well, but I knew she was a new mother and hadn’t seemed as cheerful as usual that day. With an infant to care for, I knew that traveling in the snow, and just getting in and out of the car in any weather, was much more difficult for this sister than it was for me.

I’m sure the young mother didn’t scrape the car next to her, so the wonderful snow service chain I had envisioned, with me as the secret star, didn’t come about at all, but I didn’t care. Instead of gratifying my pride, doing service that snowy morning taught me a new lesson about the worth of souls. Heavenly Father didn’t need a service chain started in our Relief Society; he needed me to show love to one sister who needed some extra help. He knew this sister’s concerns, just as he answers my prayers in so many ways. I drove home, not thinking about my tardy to-do list, but of the multitude of His tender mercies all around me.