I knew a man with a son who had down syndrome. In passing, he once told me that the members of his ward seemed relieved when his son turned twelve and could attend a regional mutual because he would no longer be "their problem anymore."
I reflected how, in cases such as disability, mental illness, and chronic conditions, we cannot simply "drop off a meal" and be done.
Our love, somehow, must “endure to the end.”
I was wrong. (Not the first or the last time, surely.)
I said the sign of true love is sacrifice, but I meant, the sign of true love is sacrifice given freely, without complaint.
After all, you would not like someone helping you to move heavy furniture while complaining the whole time of their "bad back."
Even Laman and Lemuel "sacrificed" in the wilderness, and in retrieving the plates, but their murmuring (and beating Nephi with sticks) really showed a lack of love.
I am shocked at how pleased I am with myself when I do some small kindness, like I should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for letting someone cut in front of me in heavy traffic without ramming into their rear bumper.
It is easy to fool ourselves into thinking we're doing "well" -- like when the smell of something foul has lingered so long we forget it stinks.
The Vision of Sir Launfaul
In 1848 James Russell Lowell wrote a poem called "The Vision of Sir Launfaul."
The poem is about a hero knight in the middle ages, Sir Launfaul, who spent his life seeking the holy grail.
After years of futile searching, suffering adversity and discouragement in pursuit of the grail, the story concludes with Sir Launfaul returning home for the last time, downtrodden and despondent that he had failed in his life’s quest.
As he passed the gates into his city, he spotted a leper begging on the ground.
With compassion, the beleaguered knight dismounted and offered his last crust of bread to the leper along with a cup of water.
Suddenly, the leper transformed before his eyes, and there stood the Savior, who said: Lo, it is I, be not afraid! In many climes, without avail, Thou had spent thy life for the Holy Grail; Behold, it is here—this cup which thou Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now; This crust is my body broken for thee, This water His blood that died on the tree; The Holy Supper is kept, indeed, In whatso we share with another's need, Not that which we give, but what we share, For the gift without the giver is bare; Who bestows himself with his alms feeds three, Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.
Mother Teresa was asked why she dedicated her life to caring for orphans in Calcutta. She answered, "Each one of them is Jesus in disguise."
The spirit of sacrifice is that spirit in which Jesus saw something in all of us He deemed worth dying for.
And it takes an act of congress to get me to do the dishes?