"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
September 21, 2015
Floods of Water and Blessings
by Kathryn H. Kidd

A few weeks ago we were preparing to leave town for a short vacation. In the middle of our preparations, Fluffy was called away to help our friend Jeff with an unexpected emergency. It was an emergency the friend did not expect, but then that’s the nature of emergencies. You can’t exactly schedule them and put them on the calendar.

Four or five months ago, Jeff had decided to apply for a job out in California. It was a temporary job, if you can call a job of four years’ duration temporary. He would be packing everything up and moving out there for four years, but coming back here afterwards, so the move would not be permanent. He planned to rent out his house while he was gone, and live in a condo for the time he was in California.

Ever since that decision was made, Jeff has been going crazy to get ready for that move. He wanted to get his home here ready for people to rent it, so he remodeled it inside and out. A self-professed handyman, he re-roofed the place himself. He also re-tiled the bathrooms and did all sorts of other work on the home.

I have never been inside Jeff’s house, because it is hard for me to get into other people’s houses, but he showed me pictures, and the work he did looked pretty impressive.

Jeff did little things too, if you can count fixing his refrigerator’s ice maker and painting a fence as “little” things. He didn’t let anything slide.

In addition, our friend Pam was moving from one house to another in our ward. Jeff pretty much moved her too, hauling all her big stuff on his trailer and sealing her driveway and doing her landscaping and doing everything else that she needed to have done.

Where were Pam’s home teachers all this time, who should have been helping Pam? Wait. Fluffy and I are Pam’s home teachers. All we did was invite Pam and Jeff over for dinner a few times. Oops.

Our good-hearted friend Jeff.

As if this weren’t enough, Jeff sneaked over to our house at least a couple of times and put weed killer on our lawn. I am sure he did this for other people as well. Last autumn when the leaves were falling, he came over several times with his leaf blower to clear our leaves. Our yard looked like it had been vacuumed — that’s how clean it was. There wasn’t a leaf in sight.

Jeff is the kind of person who is always doing good things for other people, without being asked, even if he is in the process of moving. He does not let grass grow under his feet.

So you can see that Jeff has been pretty busy ever since he decided he was going to move. Finally he was all ready to move, with the house completely ready to go, and all the boxes packed up and sitting on the floor, ready for the movers to come in and haul them away. At last Jeff and his wife were able to fly out to California and look for a place to rent for the next four years.

While they were gone, he sent a neighbor into the house to retrieve a document and send it to him. It was a good thing he did. Apparently when Jeff was working on his refrigerator’s ice maker, the water line was bent just enough to cause a tiny pinprick hole to form. While they were away, the hole turned into a leak, and the leak had flooded his entire house.

Not only did his entire wood laminate floor have to be replaced, but the sheetrock on his walls had to be taken off. The boxes of papers that were on the floor were soaked, and much of the house was destroyed.

Poor Jeff, who had fixed his house to perfection and then had spent time he didn’t have to help other people, found himself back to square one. It isn’t often when you find yourself with less than ten days before you are supposed to move, with no floors in your house and the walls torn down to the studs and with many of your possessions needing to be unpacked, dried out, and repacked in fresh boxes.

So now in addition to all his other tasks, Jeff had to deal with moving his family into a hotel, and supervising not only the packing but the repair efforts on the home. There was even a “mold person” coming in every day, and the repairmen could not lift a finger until he told them the house was dry enough for them to start making their repairs.

One of the silver linings in this dark cloud was that it provided an opportunity for Fluffy and other ward members to lend a hand, and partially repay Jeff for the many acts of service he had done for us over the years. And when he was out in California, Jeff was able to find a place to live that will be a real blessing to his wife while they are living on the West Coast. That is a silver lining, too.

Even so, the destruction of Jeff’s home was a disaster. His house is a wreck. Fortunately, Jeff did not shake his fist at God and curse the heavens. Being a mature human being, he realized that this is the nature of our world. This life is not supposed to be fair. It is a series of tests, and how we respond to those tests measures our worth as human beings.

As the Bible says, “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45).” No matter how many good works you do, it is not an insurance policy. Bad things are going to happen to you, too.

Jeff is definitely one of the good guys. Right now it is raining on him. Tomorrow, it could be you or I.

Where will be when our friends are caught in a thunderstorm? Will we be safely at home, curled up with a book, or will we be standing next to them, holding an umbrella?

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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