I tend to take stock of my life around this time of year. Everything about the Christmas season just seems to make me more reflective, and somewhat sober. (In a non-alcoholic kind of way :)) And lately, it seems I have had some seriously sobering things thrown into my path.
As I was getting ready for work yesterday, I had the news on and it showed the procession of those police officers in the Seattle area who were shot and killed about a week ago. My heart ached for those families. What a difficult thing to face, especially at this time of year.
Then, later that day, while at work, a family came in to find suits and dresses for everyone because their son had recently passed away. It wasn't until a little girl came in later and told me he had killed himself that I realized it was a suicide. Once again, my heart ached for that family. They came in again today to get their respective suits, ties, dresses, etc. The daughter, who couldn't have been more than 15, and is just younger than the son who passed away, was trying on a dress for the funeral. As she looked at her mom, her eyes welled up with tears and she asked, "mom, do you think he'd like it?" In reference to her deceased brother. I stumbled across this scene by accident, just wanting to make sure everything was working out alright for them. I quietly slipped away and tears sprang to my eyes. The pain and sadness in that young girls eyes just tore me apart. Then, as the mother went to pay for all of their purchases, her eyes turned red, filled with tears and she said, "thank you for all you did for us." I almost lost it. I wanted to just hug that woman and tell her it was going to be ok. I wanted to do something, anything, to take the hurt out of her eyes. But, I just stood there, nodded and said, "you're welcome".
As I reflected on the recent events that have afflicted our nation, and on a smaller scale, affected a community and family, I thought about the first two commandments we are given. The first is to love God and have none else before Him. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. As those two commandments went through my head, I thought, "If everyone followed those two commandments, every problem that afflicts this world, would be solved." If we all were less selfish and more loving, if we cared more for others and thought less of ourselves, if we put our Heavenly Father's will before ours, wouldn't all the other problems just disappear? As I thought about this, I realized I have errors in my own life that need to be corrected, things that need to be changed. I want to be so much better than I am. And I want all the hurt and the pain to be vanished from this world. I know that won't happen, but I know that if I can be more selfless, and if I teach my future children to be selfless, won't that make a little difference? At least in a few lives?
As this beautiful season fast approaches, I pray that we can all feel our Saviors love for us and that we can strive to emulate His life. What greater gift could we give to our dear Savior than to love our brothers and sisters? May we all strive to be a little bit better in this coming year.