In family scripture study, we have been reading October’s general conference talks. We recently read Elder Jose L. Alonso’s talk, “Love One Another as He Has Loved Us.” It was a powerful talk, but what stood out the most to me was this paragraph:
“In today’s world of so much suffering because of different circumstances, sending a text message with a funny emoji or posting a nice picture with the words ‘I love you’ is good and valuable. But what many of us need to do is leave our mobile devices behind and, with our hands and feet, help others in great need. Love without service is like faith without works; it’s dead indeed.”
Almost two years ago, we found out that we lost our first pregnancy in a miscarriage. My body still thought I was pregnant, but the fetus inside of me had died a few weeks before. My closest friend knew we were in the early weeks of pregnancy and knew that I had a doctor’s appointment that day. She had texted me before the appointment, asking to be in the loop on how the appointment went. I texted her not long after we left the appointment with the news that we had lost the baby. I remember finding it odd that she didn’t respond right away. But a few hours later, she and her sisters (also my close friends and in the know) showed up at my door with a care basket full of my favorite things. They gave me hugs and were just there. They sat and talked and helped cheer us up as we tried to process the impossible news we had just received. There were others who also showed up and did things for us. My visiting teachers dropped off food, as did the bishop’s wife. These actions immediately brought me to tears as they showed the love of those individuals so much more than a text ever could.
Eventually, I shared our experience of loss with the internet, and since then, it has been interesting to watch as friends feel like they can confide in me about their own personal losses. Within the two years since we lost our baby, I have had two close friends also lose babies. Both friends lived in different states than where I currently was, but I knew that I needed to pass on what my dear friend had done for me. It’s not because I’m some great person but because I knew how much that action had saved me when I needed it most. Condolences are valuable, but action is more valuable.
We live in a world where many large-scale tragedies happen daily. These causes are important to fight for and advocate for, but those who are closest to us also need our actions. Well wishes can only go so far; sometimes, what that person needs most is YOU. They need you with ice cream. You with a shoulder to cry on. You to cheer them up. You to listen to them. You to act on whatever promptings you receive from the Holy Ghost about what will most help them. You, not a virtual hug, are the most valuable thing to those in need. The principle behind this is the same that we hear so often in Church: when you receive a prompting, act on it. It doesn’t matter how well you know someone, God knows you and He knows them, and He can prompt you in the exact ways that you need to help them. I promise you, that as you serve those who the Holy Ghost prompts, the awkwardness will dispel, and you both will feel the love of your Heavenly parents.
The saying goes that actions speak louder than words, so make your actions—not your text messages—the way that you will help someone in need.