Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Give, Said the Little Stream

A few years ago, I attended the only BYU devotional that had a message that stuck with me for longer than a day. The speaker was Bonnie D. Parkin, it was the day before Valentine's Day, and I was sitting next to Bryan Stewart in the Varsity Theater. At one point in her talk, she encouraged the people in the audience to thank those sitting by them for sitting by them, which Bryan and I thought was kind of funny, since it was only natural that we, being friends, should sit together. But what she began her talk with was the message I have remembered ever since: "Never suppress a generous thought." She went on to speak about service and our personal ministries, but that was the line that remained with me.

Ever since then, I've tried to live up to that. Not to say that I've always succeeded. In fact, I would say I've rarely succeeded. But when I have focused on that goal, the good thoughts have just flowed through me. I know that I have been at my happiest when thinking about what I can do for a friend, a roommate, a family member. Not just thinking about it, but actually doing it. It usually manifests itself in the form of food, but who's going to refuse that, really? And that's hardly a creative manifestation, either; just think of all the casseroles exchanged within just one ward relief society. But it's true that I have never regretted taking cookies to or making dinner for someone. I also have never regretted writing happy notes to my friends or making my parents' bed (which, granted, has only happened about once) or cleaning the entire apartment so my roommates don't have to (even if there was slight grumbling during the process).

So here's hoping I keep on having generous thoughts and that people will allow me to carry them out without feeling like charity cases. Because I actually really like doing it! It gives me a good feeling. (so wait, does that mean i'm being selfish because i like feeling good? oh, the conundrum . . .)


"She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit." -W. Somerset Maugham

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