Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Tender Act

Yesterday I listened to a conference talk on my way to work. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told the story of an aged couple. The woman was losing her sight and could no longer paint her own fingernails. Her husband started doing it for her because it put a smile on her face, and he wanted her to be happy. He continued to do this for five years, up until the time that his wife passed away.

It was only a small thing, but this act of tenderness between a husband and wife touched me. It seems to me to be an utterly unselfish thing, a true act of service that showed this husband's true colors. I want to be more like him.

Listening to this talk reminded me of something that happened ten years ago. When we lived in Oregon, Elder Wirthlin came to our stake conference. He told of a story about when he was a boy. He had attended a conference where an elderly woman spoke. This woman had met the Prophet Joseph Smith when she was young, and had shaken his hand. Elder Wirthlin thought to himself, "If I shake that woman's hand, it would be only one handshake away from the Prophet." After the meeting, the young Joseph Wirthlin sought out the woman and shook her hand. At the conference, Elder Wirthlin offered to stay after the session long enough for anyone to shake his hand so they could be only two handshakes away from the Prophet. Of course, I took him up on his offer.

These simple acts of kindness have inspired me. It is the small, simple things, motivated by genuine caring, that are the most meaningful things in life. I am determined to do better at following Elder Wirthlin's example.

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