This weekend I had an interesting experience. I was talking on the phone with one of my friends, Julia Graves, and we started telling funny stories about college friends and roommates we’ve both had. It was one of those fun, chatty, girlie Sunday night phone calls. As I have mentioned before Julia was a favorite companion of mine on my mission and we have kept in touch ever since. In fact, I am going to make a visit to Las Vegas soon to see her. I wish she lived in Utah. If she did, I would hang out with her all of the time!
Anyway, the two of us were chatting and laughing. I particularly told the story of my klutzy college roommate named Jennifer. To put it midly this girl was a mess. She walked in a continuous cloud and was always bumping into things and couldn’t walk into her room without endangering her life! The first day we met as roommates she decided to move her mattress and somehow ended up knocking the light cover off of the cieling sending shattered glass everywhere. Unfortunately a piece of glass cut her forehead causing her to bleed rather profusely. To our shock, after just meeting, she came in blood down her face, and said “I got hurt”. My other roommate Heather and I naturally began to freak out and we may have even taken her to the emergency room. I don’t remember. It may sound odd to laugh over something like this but it was so typical of Jennifer that it became funny. The ironic thing is that she was also a germaphobe and was constantly complaining about the cleanliness of the apartment and that it was too stuffy. There were many nights when I went to bed freezing because she insisted on having the window open to squelch the stuffiness.
When you combined the klutziness and the germaphobic tendencies you can imagine our shock when at the end of Fall Semester Jennifer announced she was going to Guatemala for Winter term. A friend of hers was going with BYU so Jennifer decided to go; however, the BYU group was full. Did this stop her- no? She planned the entire trip by herself and was venturing to Guatemala alone. She couldn’t imagine why her parents weren’t supportive of this plan? Imagine that? When she left Heather and I kept expecting to hear news of an american tourist falling into a volcano in Guatamala. I mean the girl couldn’t walk to her bedroom without bleeding- let alone a third world country!
So on Sunday Julia and I were laughing over these types of stories. It was a pleasant conversation that I enjoyed but didn’t think much more of until the next day when I got an email from Julia. She wrote that her life had been stressful lately and that she needed a good laugh. Talking with me was exactly what she needed. Now I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal or anything, but the experience reminded me of an important lesson. Sometimes the most important gifts are found in the small moments of time and tender care. Sure Christmas presents are great, holidays are fun but the seamingly insignificant conversations, smiles and meals can have surprising impact on those we care about. I can think of many instances when I have been stressed and a phone call, visiting teaching message, or talk in church lifted my spirits. Sometimes even the memories of a happy time are enough to lift away the loneliness of my life.
My parents have always been good examples of appreciating small moments. My dad used to say to me in college when I was stressed out over a test- “Are you enjoying the journey?”. My mother was always available for an evening chat (still is over the phone) on her bed at night, or a conversation while she made dinner. She is also a good example of doing her best- not just getting by- instead of just doing costumes for the school play, for instance, she researches the time period and adds time appropriate details. This is typical of the way my mother magnifies the moments she has and makes a difference in her family and to her friends.
I want to do more to recognize the minutes and seconds of joy in my life- to laugh with friends, develop talents and express gratitude. Luckily the Lord amplifies whatever effort I can make by directing me (most of the time unaware) to the places and people I can help, and that can help me. Life is good!