"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
October 21, 2014
Small Things With Great Love
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

I went to the post office recently, to mail a package to my daughter. It was Columbus Day, so the post office was closed. Mostly. There’s one of those machine doohickeys that walks you through the cost and printing process, so I eventually was able to drop the package in the mailer.

When I turned around, a couple of women were waiting their turn, and a men’s wallet was on the counter. No one claimed it. I wandered around to the few folks checking their post office boxes. They didn’t claim it either. So, after waiting a few minutes, I peeked at the driver’s license, and drove home with the wallet.

Joyfully, this fellow is a Facebook member. I wrote him a note, filling him in, gave my cell phone number, and waited for him to call. About 45 seconds later, he called. I assured him I hadn’t rifled through his wallet. (I don’t even do that kind of stuff to my children.) But I said that I’d be happy to meet him and return his goods.

Back to the post office I went. What a darling young man! He was so grateful, and happily went on his way. End of story. Kind of.

This is why I tell the story: I drove out of that parking lot so full of sunshine that I thought I may burst for a moment. It made my day. It quickened my step and blessed me throughout the rest of Monday, October 13th, 2014.

Such a simple thing. Not a big deal. Yet, such a sweet reward in my heart. It made me, once again, realize, how giving is not even aptly named. We can’t give without getting something greater in return.

More clearly, I see that this whole see-saw of service is a learning curve for a better way of living. A beautiful joy filled way of growing joy. Of lifting burdens. Of sharing good stuff.

Every time I have the opportunity to offer something to someone else, my heart smiles. Whether or not they even know it’s me (anonymous service is often the best and most fun), I am better for it.

Mine is not amazing service like the widow’s crucible of oil or “last” of her meal. Mine is certainly not, in any way, like our Savior’s examples — over and over — of offering to and for others. But I recognize the brilliance of why we have the opportunity to help one another.

Often, I have remembered President Spencer W. Kimball’s words, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 82). Many is the time I’ve had quiet prayers answered by another person. Powerfully, I have learned that I am watched over.

From times past, when the children were young, making those sneaky runs to neighbor’s houses with goodies, or making the annual trip at Christmas time to the homeless shelter, I have the sweet memories of watching the excitement of my babies as they helped another person.

That gave me a double blessing — my own joy, as well as the layer that comes as a mom knowing her children are feeling theirs. Does that make sense?

All of us have times when we need to depend on others for help. When it is given freely, kindly, joyfully, we feel it. When it comes with any kind of “price tag” — and some of you understand — we feel that, too. I’d rather have no help than the kind that doesn’t feel real and heartfelt.

Maybe that’s prideful on my part. Or maybe it’s a sensitivity to the core reason for giving and receiving. A desire to be more like Christ, and have us all pitch in — just “because” and with happiness and kindness. Doesn’t that sound like the best way to live?

“Let all things be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)

This, I suppose, is my thought for today. There is love all around. It seems to be in the frequency of the air waves, if we tune in. We can enjoy the heck out of our days, doing little things for other folks. There is joy to be had in finding small ways to offer kindness. “Small things with great love,” as Mother Teresa said.

The experience at the post office was another simple reminder to me of this simple principle. It’s a wonderful one. There is much goodness in it.

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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