Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kissing the Leper

Growing up with a disabled sister, I got used to people staring.  Caroline screamed in quiet places and would sit down on the floor in the middle of busy walkways.  Occasionally strangers reached out in service to us.  Because it was so unusual and touching for someone to help us, I remember some incidences in great detail.
Once I was alone with Caroline when she sat down in the middle of the mall.  This was back in the eighties when malls were very crowded, and we seemed to be right in everyone's way.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get her to move.  After what seemed like a very long time of having people trip over us, a woman stopped and asked if she could help.  Together, we dragged Caroline to the nearest bench.  I'm sure this woman has long forgotten her service, but I don't think I ever will.

Yesterday, I read a story that Jay Fox told at the BYU English Department Awards banquet last April. He said:

Jack Sing had leprosy and was treated with sulfone drugs, but not before the disease had done a lot of damage.  He was the branch president in Kalaupapa for 31 years.  In 1978 he was given a distinguished service award at BYU--Hawaii.  When he came to campus in his tennis shoes and baseball cap to receive the award, President Spencer W. Kimball attended the ceremony.  By this time Jack's face and hands were severely disfigured from the disease and you could see that many of those attending the meeting were standoffish and even reluctant to shake hands with him.  I saw President Kimball come up to him, put his arms around him and say, 'Jack, you are my brother!'  He then kissed Jack Sing.  This was one of the most compassionate acts I have ever witnessed and a great example to all of us.

In these two examples, it didn't take much extra time to perform an act of service.  Reading this story yesterday reminded me that service doesn't have to be a big project.  Have you ever had someone serve you in a simple way?

5 comments:

  1. This is such a beautiful post. Often we don't remember the little things we do for other people that leave a big impact. I'd like to think I would have stopped to help you with your sister, or hugged the leper, but I don't know because I wasn't there. I have helped young mothers struggling with their little children or a disabled person load his groceries into his car. Simple acts of kindness go a long way.

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  2. That is a good reminder. I can't think of one act of service that stands out, but yes, many simple ones have touched me.

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  3. Thanks for sharing that story. Pres. Kimball was an amazing prophet, as they all are. Aaron just taught our FHE lesson last night on service and I know some of the simplest acts of service are a smile, kind word or complement. They are so quick and easy, but can have such a profound effect and brighten someone's day.

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  4. The SIMPLEST thing - I was flying by myself with a four year old and a one year old from Anchorage to Salt Lake City - 5 hours.
    As my kids and I departed the plane, I had several people simply say what a good job I'd done with my kids on the flight.

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  5. Those are both beautiful stories. Thanks for sharing.

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