"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
April 02, 2015
When People are Worth the Effort
by Hannah Bird

My friend shared a video clip that made my day. In it, a pair of police officers are having an informal dance-off of sorts with some neighborhood kids. It made me happy all day.

The dancing is truly awesome on both sides, but for different reasons. The kids are awesome because they are cute kids who can actually dance. The officerís dancing is awe-inspiring because it was so bad.

He danced with the grace and agility of someone who had received his body only a few hours earlier. His moves flow with the rhythm of someone trying to follow the beats of one thousand different marching bands all playing different songs.

He attempted to do a classic break dancing spin on the road. It is perhaps the greatest depiction of blind optimism I have ever seen. This is the break dancers of yore who carried around cardboard. Asphalt donít spin, yo.

His skill was not impressive. But he was. He was wholeheartedly dancing with those kids. The connection he made was more important than looking goofy. Those kids mattered more than his comfort.

My brother is a fisherman. He is a lot of other admirable things. But he loves to fish. And he loves being an uncle.

The summer before last we had a huge family reunion. He took my two youngest kids and my two nieces fishing along with my oldest brother. They went to fish in the same pond we fished as kids in front of the same pink mountains we watched as kids.

It was a chance for my brothers to share a place they loved and a thing they love with kids they love.

My kids fish often and love it. They had already cast when my youngest niece cast. She immediately hooked the biggest sucker fish in that pond ó my brother. A top quality barbed hook was sunk deep into his cheek.

Let me pause here to make a list of things that I have yelled about.

  • People who chew food with their mouths open and make smacking noises.

  • People who bump my chair while I am writing an article that no one is going to read.

  • People who do not refill the gas tank.

  • People who eat the last of that thing that I was going to eat the last of.

  • People who donít answer to names that I did not give them.

You can see that I am not a gracious or peaceful woman.

We now return to my (handsome) brother who had a hook in his face. He did not yell. They paused to take pictures. I donít remember the exact pictures that were taken, but knowing my brother he was throwing devil horns and had his tongue out. My niece was actually quite proud.

The problem with a barbed hook is that you cannot pull it out. It has a barb that will make a new and substantial injury on the way out. So my brothers loaded the kids up and drove back to the house.

He still didnít yell.

My brother walked into a crowd of aunts and cousins, with the hook still in his face. He was laughing and smiling. My niece still looked proud.

Luckily, my cousin Daniel is a doctor. They discussed the face hook thoroughly and agreed that my cousin would have to push the hook all the way through my brotherís skin so it popped out the other side, cut off the barb, and then back the hook out.

My brother was still smiling.

Daniel performed the best driveway surgery Iíve ever seen. The hook was out and we all started to discuss whether the face hook counted as a contribution to the talent show for my cousinís family or ours.

My brother is tough. Really tough. But no one wants a hook in the face. It hurts. It scars. It is generally the sort of thing one avoids. As much as it hurt, our little niece mattered more. He didnít want her to feel bad. He didnít want her to suffer.

So he smiled and laughed.

Itís amazing what happens when we get past comfortable. Years from now my niece will be a teenager. She will make her mother nuts. She will feel misunderstood. She will feel awkward and lonely. But she will remember that she was more important than a hole in her uncleís face.

The kid that danced so well and watched the policeman dance so poorly will never forget. He was worth someoneís time and pride and comfort.

Thatís love. It's worth trying. Even for the world's most impatient woman.


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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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