Be Kind, You Don’t Know What Battles are Being Fought

It is so important to remember to be always be kind to others. You don’t know what battles someone else is fighting today. You don’t know if the comment you make in passing can be the last straw in a very hard day for someone. Or the thing that helps them through the day.

It happens all the time. People say things to someone, totally unaware that the person they are talking to may be struggling through the day.

I had one of those days just this week. What started out as a rough morning with the fridge going out, turned worse when someone said something very hurtful. I don’t think it was even directed at me. But it was very insensitive and said in a very public way.

Then at home, missing Laney hit me, and I ended up in tears. Oh, did I mention that my garage door also broke? I ended the day deep in discouragement hoping that the next day would be better. (Thanks to my angel niece who always knows when I need her, it was)

As our own trials make us more compassionate, it should always be our goal to say kind words to others. We don’t know what battles someone is facing today. For some, it means putting your arm around the one who is struggling and telling them it will be ok. For others, it could be as simple as a smile.

When Wade and I were first married, we lived in a small town smack dab in the middle of Utah. We had the fortune to live across the street from this amazing family, the Bradleys. The dad ALWAYS waved at everyone as he drove along. Or as they drove by him. I often wondered what made him so happy, and why in the world he smiled and waved at everyone. I can now look back and know that although he didn’t know he was doing it, he was lifting me, helping to brighten my life. And it worked. Now, every time I think about it, I smile. And sometimes I wave.


About Doing Good

Laney was a goer. Once she hit high school, she wasn’t home very much. She was always with her friends having fun or working or playing whatever sport was in season. She formed the four square club and the hiking club.  But the night of her accident, we found out exactly what she had been out doing. And it was amazing.

We had heard that people were posting things about Laney on her Facebook wall. We were afraid to look, though. We were already having such a difficult time that we didn’t think we could handle it, so we didn’t look at it until 3 am.

We sat there for the next hour or so reading, with tears streaming down our faces. We knew Laney was amazing. All parents think their kids are amazing, don’t they? But, we truly knew the extent of Laney’s good works when we read things like, “I don’t even think Laney knew my name, but she always said hi to me,” or, “Laney helped me through _______ ( fill in the blank).”

We knew that instead of toilet papering peoples’ houses, she would “chalk” their driveways with nice messages. We knew that she included everyone in whatever she was doing. Including her younger sisters. One of their last memories is going to the lake with Laney and her friends. They had a marvelous time and love how she wasn’t afraid to take them along.

But the most amazing thing is that every week Laney went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. And she took along a group of people. She took her three little sisters as soon as they turned twelve. Their first experience was with Laney.

After she died, Brynna noticed an app on her phone that logged the number of times she performed an ordinance. In 2011 alone, she performed 119 baptisms and 118 confirmations. At nine different temples. Think about it. They only allow you to do five baptisms at a time. FIVE. She was indeed out about doing much good. We continue to be amazed by her example of always being about, doing much good. I only hope we can be a little more like her.


Real Heroes Wear Name Tags

Laney loved to write to missionaries. So much so that she started a club to get her friends involved in writing them, too. She encouraged others to serve missions because she knew it was the right thing to do. She knew that sharing the Gospel was one of the reasons we are here. She firmly believed that she didn’t want to get to the other side and have people ask, ” You knew this all along? Why didn’t you tell me about it?”

So, when she went off to in college, she started the WAM club. It stands for Write a Missionary. She had a standing time every Sunday when the young adults in her ward were all invited to come to her house and write missionaries. Laney wrote to her friends. And then their companions. She felt that maybe if she wrote encouraging letters, it might make a difference. She knew that her letters might be the only mail they received on their missions.

Laney has over 110 first cousins. One of them holds a special place in her heart.  He is the same age as her and they and grew up together. She was constantly encouraging him to go on a mission. It took a little longer than normal, but he is now proudly serving a mission. I am sure that she is there beside him when he is discouraged, encouraging him (or maybe kicking him in the behind, if we know Laney).

My little four year old nephew, Soybean (not his real name), knows how important it is to serve a mission, too. He has a little Sunday suit and he calls it his missionary suit. He wants to wear it all the time. He loves it because he knows that Laney’s boyfriend wears a suit. That he wore one on his mission. Soybean wants to be a missionary when he grows up, just like Laney’s boyfriend. He is Soybean’s hero. He is our hero, too.

Laney had so many close friends serving missions, that upon news of her accident, their mission presidents were called by their parents. Two of her best friends, Josh and Solomon were still serving, getting ready to come home. They immediately wrote our family, giving us such sweet tender mercies. Josh came home just two months later. It was so sweet to meet with him after he got home. He brought with him more of those tender mercies that we so desperately needed.

Now we are waiting for Solomon. He will be home in March.  I cannot wait to give him the hug that he was waiting to get from Laney. At our house, my family loves super heroes. But they love real heroes more. And real heroes wear name tags.