21942_000_010My sister’s small, simple gift reminded me of the far greater gifts I’d been taking for granted.
I sat at the table in my new apartment and glared at my noodles. It was raining, and it was Monday. I had just gotten the results back from a biology test and was not very pleased with myself. Furthermore, I had tripped in the crowded library as I was running to my next class. Now I was eating the last thing I had in the cupboard—bland noodles.
This is not the college experience I had imagined, I thought. I had pictured myself as a triumphant Joan of Arc figure, out to rid the world of injustice. At the end of my first month away from home, I was feeling like the noodles in my bowl of soup, tangled and limp. I was just one in a sea of thousands of college students, and I could not help but feel a little alone.
“Package!” my roommate yelled as she came in with the mail. I looked up to see a brown box flying across the kitchen.
Someone is sending me a package? It wasn’t my birthday. I curiously opened the package and found a note and a small rectangular object wrapped in one layer of colorful paper and then wrapped with a solid layer of tape. I read the note first. Written in 10-year-old cursive, the note read, “I hope you will enjoy your present. This is a short letter, but I miss you. Love, Maria.” As if on second thought, “Maria” had been crossed out several times and the “anonymous” sender instead had carefully drawn a heart with a question mark inside. I unwrapped the colorful rectangle and found a candy bar—my favorite kind.
I sat at the table and studied the note, realizing that I wasn’t just another face. Far away from my college dorm room, I had a sister who knew who I was, who missed me, and who loved me. She cared how I was feeling and sent me a reminder that I was important.
She now became a reminder to me of the power of service. This simple, thoughtful act had changed my entire attitude that afternoon and had a tremendous impact on my week. As I sat at the table, her example spoke of the blessings that come to both the doers and the receivers of service. I felt loved, and my sister was coming to know the Savior.
This act of service reminded me of another family member: a Father who sends me everyday reminders that He knows who I am, misses me, and loves me. I have a Heavenly Father who selflessly sent to me and to everyone in this world a wonderful gift that shows just how much He loves us. He sent the Savior to show us how to return and just how important the worth of souls is. Every Sunday I have the same reminder, and it does indeed change my attitude for the entire week.