Make a Difference

13 October 2013

And he's off to Paraguay...

This has been a very emotional week for our family.  Last Thursday, we said goodbye to Tanner as he walked away from us, through security in the airport, and flew off to serve the people in Paraguay for twenty four months.  I am so proud of him and his decision to serve, but it’s not an easy thing for a mother to watch her son walk away for two years, only to be able to hear his voice on Christmas and Mother’s Day!  My heart has been quite heavy the past few months as I anticipated his absence from our home.  But, at the same time, I am looking forward to reading about his experiences and meeting the man who will return home to us who left us as a boy.

So, while I am still reeling just a bit from Tanner leaving us, Tyler’s 17th birthday comes right around the corner.  I have wondered if I should let this birthday go by without acknowledging it on the blog, but decided tonight that I would like to still give Tyler a birthday present.  Last year, I asked people to give Tyler a gift – a ‘gift of their heart’.  I asked for people to make a change in their lives for the better, write it down and put it in the gift box at Tyler’s grave.  I was both amazed and honored when I went to the grave that night and saw his green gift box overflowing with notes and letters of loved ones committing to improve some aspect of their life.  I know Tyler would have loved that birthday.  I remember the promise I gave him for his birthday, and I am still conscious of it and am still trying to improve on it.

This year, I would like to do another ‘gift of the heart’, for Ty’s birthday.  I would like all who would like to participate to do a random act of service for someone on Tuesday, October 15th, Tyler’s 17th birthday.  It doesn’t have to be an all-day service project, but maybe just a small act that would make someone else smile for the day and remember that they are noticed and loved.

I know that when we serve, not only does our service help others, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective.  When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves.  Like it says in the New Testament, “He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39)  President Spencer W. Kimball said, ‘We become more substantive as we serve others – indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!’

One of my favorite quotes from President Kimball is:

‘God does notice us, and He watches over us.  But it is usually through another person that He meets our needs.  Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other…So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks,but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!’

Sometimes, we are the only way that Heavenly Father can show another person that they are noticed and loved.  I have had that witness many times over the last two years – that my Heavenly Father knows who I am, when someone happens to show up at my door, sends a card, or makes a phone call to check on me.  I would ask that each of us be that person, if not every day, at least on Tuesday, as a gift to my son.  I know he would love nothing better than for us to spread happiness that day, and perhaps show someone who was slipping into despair that they are noticed and loved by us and a loving Heavenly Father.

If you would like to share what you have done, I would love to know about it.  I will have a gift box again at his grave.  If you cannot go, please remember to still serve someone…it will mean just as much to him.

Happy 17th Birthday Tyler…we miss you with all of our hearts and wish you were here celebrating with us.  Our family looks forward to the day we are reunited and can enjoy eternity together!

Happy Birthday Tyler!

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