"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
April 2, 2013
Helping Them Cry
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Our gospel is one of goodness and truth, of eternal principles that allow us to gain more love and understanding. As followers of Christ, it is required of us to desire to have compassion, and to act upon that desire. As much as we want to, sometimes we just don’t know how to help someone who’s in a pickle, or who is mourning, or who is lost.

The older I get, though, the simpler the equation becomes: Give what’s needed most. Find some simple, doable thing, and offer it with compassion.

Here’s what I need when I’m ill, or depressed, or have gone through a dark time of trial:

A show of compassion. Real compassion. The kind of empathy that allows me to feel like the other person cares that I’m hurting. This kind of empathy has ears to hear and a heart to feel. When there are no words that come, it is often a blessing to simply have someone with whom to cry.

The story of the little boy who went across the street to spend time with the old neighbor man is a beautiful example:

The father watched his young son talk for a moment with the elderly neighbor who’d just lost his wife of many years. Then the little one climbed into the old man’s lap and they sat there, rocking on the porch.

A bit later, when the small one returned home, the dad was curious as to what they had talked about.

“Nothing, daddy. I just helped him cry.”

What a perfect example of loving compassion!  This is a beautiful little one who has not yet forgotten the ways of heaven, I think.

We never know, unless we are very close to a family member or friend, what hurt may lurk in their heart. But One knows. His love is extended and our fervent prayers are answered. But often, as President Spencer W. Kimball taught, we are the answer to those prayers by the loving help we offer.

I am trying to memorize these beautiful words from President Thomas S. Monson:

There are many out there who plead and pray for help. There are those who are discouraged, those who are beset by poor health and challenges of life which leave them in despair. I’ve always believed in the truth of the words, ‘God’s sweetest blessings always go by hands that serve him here below.’ Let us have ready hands, clean hands, and willing hands, that we may participate in providing what our Heavenly Father would have others receive from Him.”
(“Priesthood Power,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 51.)

I might need to remember, in addition, to have a heart open enough to feel the tender feelings of those who need my help. And tears to cry with them.

It’s a simple thing. A good thing.

And goodness matters.

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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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