The lights dimmed, and a hush fell over the audience. All eyes watched as Elise seemed to float across the stage in a soft, blue dress that swirled around her like a mist. She danced as if no one was watching.
Lacy sat quietly as musicians played, quartets sang, and families performed comedy acts and wonderful musical numbers. The more she saw, the worse she felt. If only she had a talent! The ward talent show was the best activity of the year, and Lacy was never able to be a part of it.
All the way home, Lacy was quiet. Finally Mom said, “That was one of the best talent shows yet.”
“Your friend Elise sure can dance, Lacy,” her brother Ryan added. “She seems to float.”
I wish he was talking about me, Lacy thought.
“I hate going to the talent show, Mom,” Lacy tearfully admitted later that night. “I’d rather stay home than go and see all the things that others can do. I can’t do anything. Our family can’t do anything, either. The Billings family sings together. The Myerses have their own family band. All my friends either sing, dance, or play an instrument. I feel like a loser.” Lacy sobbed into her pillow.
“Lacy,” Mom quietly reminded, “we all have talents. They may not be performed on a stage, but they are wonderful. You must find yours and then use them. That’s why Heavenly Father gave them to you. Why don’t you think about the things that you do well, and we’ll talk later.” Mom quietly slipped from the room to care for their newest foster child, three-year-old Brittany.
Sometime during the night, Brittany slipped into Lacy’s bed. “Bwitney scared,” she said. “Bwitney scared at night.” Lacy gently pulled the covers up over her trembling little body and patted her back.
During Primary on Sunday, Brittany wanted Lacy to stay with her, so Lacy sat in the Sunbeam class with her. “Children, we have a new Sunbeam to welcome to Primary. Lacy, would you like to introduce your new sister to us?”
Brittany squeezed Lacy’s hand as they walked to the front. “This is Brittany, my new sister.” As the children sang “Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello! We welcome you today,” Brittany hid her face in Lacy’s dress.
“Why is your new sister so shy?” Lacy’s friend Alan asked after Primary. “She acts like she’s afraid of the world!”
“She is afraid. How would you feel if you had to move to a new home where you didn’t know anyone, not even your new family? She’s just a little girl. She’s still getting used to us.”
Alan poked Lacy in the arm as he ran down the hall. “You’re going to have the biggest family in the world if you guys get any more kids.”
Later, Lacy was helping Brittany get ready for bed. “Wead to Bwitney, please, Lacy.”
Lacy laughed and hugged Brittany. “Sure! Go get a book. I’ll read you one story.”
Brittany came running back with a book of Bible stories. Pointing to the picture of Noah, she said, “This one, Lacy.”
“You really like that story, don’t you? This time, why don’t we be the animals? The bed can be the ark. We’ll climb onto the ark and look for our stalls.”
Brittany hung her head down low and made her arms into an elephant’s trunk. Lumbering onto the ark, she bellowed, “I hungwy! I firsty! I sleepy.”
“Caw! Caw! I need my nest. I need some seed,” Lacy crowed as she flapped her arms and “flew” around the ark.
When the girls finished the story, it was bedtime for Brittany. “Tuck me in, please, Lacy.”
Stepping into the room, Mom said, “Prayers first, Brittany.”
“Lacy help me,” Brittany told her.
“Is that OK, Mom?” Lacy asked quietly.
Mom nodded with a smile.
Brittany knelt by her bed. It amazed Lacy how easily all her sisters and brothers learned to pray. With a little prompting, Brittany began. “Dear Hebenly Father, please bless Lacy. She loves me. Amen.”
Tears stung Lacy’s eyes. A million thoughts flashed through her mind. She knew a little about each of the children who had joined her family before they came. All of them had suffered more than Lacy could imagine. Each had brought her or his own special spirit into her family, and Lacy loved them all. She enjoyed helping to care for them. She read to them and played games with them. She helped them to dress and did their hair. Most of all, she tried to help them to be happy, to feel safe, and to know that Heavenly Father loved them.
Lacy hugged Brittany as she tucked her in. “I really do love you, Brittany. You’re a wonderful sister.”
“Mom,” Lacy said later. “I think I know what one of my talents is.”
“You have many talents, Lacy. Which one do you mean?”
“Well, it’s really an easy thing. You can’t watch it or listen to it, and you’d never be able to do it in a talent show. I’m not even sure it’s a talent. But I know I’m good at it—our whole family is good at it—and it helps people.”
“Lacy, not all talents are meant to entertain people. Some are meant to bless them. Which talent are you talking about?”
“I love all the kids who come to live with us. I love them so much that I want to help make their lives better. If they get to stay forever, then I get to keep helping. If they have to leave, I pray that what they have learned and felt here stays with them forever. Is that a talent, Mom?”
“Lacy, it’s only one of your talents, but it’s surely one of the best of them.”