Sunday, February 03, 2013

A Lesson in Charity

Last Sunday morning, I jumped in the shower as I began to get ready for church. Jim had showered earlier for a change. As I lathered up my hair, the water pressure dropped to nearly nothing. I could also hear some kind of noise that seemed familiar but I couldn't tell what it was. I hollered at Jim asking him to check the water pressure in the rest of the house because we had just lost most of it. I was frantically trying to get the soap out of my hair in case all the water went off.  As Jim began to hunt around for the noise and checked the rest of the water, it was clear something was wrong. We had lost our water pressure a couple of weeks earlier when the power plant supplying our power had an explosion. Jim began to call the neighbors to see if this was a city problem or our problem. He also called Hal Shelly (mayor and the man Jim and Ammon home teach) to see if anything had been reported. It was about 9:30 a.m. by this time. Very quickly, Jerry Lane, our neighbor to the north of us came over. His boys quickly followed. Hal came over immediately and Lynn Weakly (a neighbor at the top of the street) came down. They all had shovels in hand. It appeared at first that we had a leak in the main water line. The men and boys were all ready to shovel down to the water line to help find the leak. But first they had to shovel the snow away down to the grass. (It is the first time I've seen green grass since November.) I could not believe how quickly they had that snow removed. It looked like a huge green swimming pool. 
Jerry came in the house with Jim and they checked all the water fixtures and inlets. He went around the back of the yard and we discovered that the solenoid to the sprinklers had a short in it. The sprinklers had come on but, being buried under a lot of snow, we couldn't see the water. In the fall, the little neighbor kids had filled the green pipe that protects the line where the sprinklers can be turned off and on with pine cones. Jim couldn't get them out and forgot to figure out a way to clear it so the water could turn off. Lynn Weakley used Jim's shop vac to suck them out and then they were able to get the water turned off.  Jerry also found that the main outlet in the backyard was leaking. So we have some work to do but luckily that can happen in the spring. We were worried that we were going to have a very hefty bill to repair lines from the main water line. We were blessed!

The point of this post isn't about water lines and sprinklers. It's about a continuing lesson I am learning. This was a Sunday morning about an hour before church started. I was inside concerned about getting ready for church. Those men were concerned about helping the Clarks.

The Sunday before that, Ammon and I were carefully making our way down the street. We had had an ice storm two days before and the street was still solid ice. I had to hang on to Ammon's wheelchair to keep from falling. We usually go through the south door even though it doesn't have an automatic door opener because in the winter time, going down the steep driveway on the east side of the church is deadly. It's slick and very steep. We noticed that a few of the priests in our ward were chipping away at the cutaway to the sidewalk without any success. Ammon could not get through that way so we went up the hill and slid down the driveway. It scared me to death but we made it.

After church, Jim said, "Let's try to get through that way again. Going up the hill may be too difficult for Ammon's chair to handle so we'll see if we can push him through that small area. When we got outside, there was our neighbor working on the road. He had chiseled a pathway wide enough for Ammon to get through and had cleared a pathway for Ammon to get across the street safely. We had been concerned about going to church. The neighbor had been concerned about the safety of Ammon and other church-goers. As we passed him by and expressed our deep thanks, Jim said, "You don't have to go to church to be an angel." He smiled and said, "It's a good thing."

This man does not attend church - ever. But he would serve anyone without question. He pulls stuck cars out of the church parking lot. He pulls cars out of the snow at 1 or 3 a.m. in the morning.  He fixes dishwashers. He encourages his kids to do the same thing. They were the first people over here to help Adam and Amy move in. They stayed until every last box was emptied. They babysit, they loan garlic or shortening or whatever food we run out of and we try to reciprocate.

I hold this family in the highest esteem because they embody the idea of charity. I would think there hasn't been a lot extended their way in the past. I believe they have been judged wrongly many times.

Recently I re-read Alma 34: 27-29. "Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need--I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out (it being of no worth) and it trodden under foot of men."

I have been busy teaching Gospel Doctrine classes, accompanying the choir on occasion and accompanying the YW for a song they sang for New Beginnings a week or so ago. Does that count for charity? Maybe --- but not so much.  Anybody could do that. My neighbors continue to teach me the most important concept I need to know for salvation. The pure love of Christ can be shown outside the classroom.


Jess Clark said...

I enjoyed this post and am glad it was a solve-able problem! -Jess

Lokodi said...

thanks for sharing mom. It was nice to have a reminder of pure charity. I'm so glad you have such amazing neighbors. I have been blessed with friends like that in my life too, and I can only have Heavenly Father to thank for you. I just wish I could be that person for someone else.


Kaitlin Clark said...

The Lane family is a blessing. They have always been so good to our family.

Michelle said...

We shared your story as our FHE last night. Thanks for writing it.