He Tied My Shoe

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Simple acts of kindness from others have shown me that there’s always a way for me to serve, no matter how small.

shoe

Illustration by Patrick Laurent

While learning of Jesus Christ, I have found great peace, comfort, and love—particularly in two comforting teachings: First, the Savior said, “Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:23). This marvelous scripture, which invites us to find peace in the Savior, is this year’s Mutual theme. Second, the Savior taught, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). As we reach out in service to others, we find peace. And that peace is frequently accompanied by feelings of love, comfort, and belonging, both for those who serve and those who receive service.

Two Small Acts

I remember two small acts of kindness, or service, that have had a profound impact on me and have brought me peace. As I share them, you may notice that the service rendered or the words shared took but a few seconds. Likewise, you may note that these acts showed me by example how to serve others. Hopefully, these examples will encourage you to take a moment each day and serve someone. And yes, that might include your brother, sister, mother, or father.

Are You Happy?

A while ago, I had the opportunity to attend an event with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This particular event extended over a couple days and was attended by the Young Men and Primary General Presidencies. When the closing session was about to begin, a seat was being reserved for the Apostle towards the front of the room.

I was sitting back one row and saving a seat on the aisle for the other counselor in the Young Men General Presidency. To my surprise, the Apostle appeared and asked if he could sit next to me.

After a few moments, he grabbed my right wrist and said, “Joe, I am not sure that I am going to make it through this meeting. I am not feeling well.” I encouraged him to go back to his office, assuring him that we could cover the meeting and inform him of any happenings. However, he remained.

About a minute later, he grabbed my wrist again and said something like, “Joe, I do not know what is happening. I felt fine yesterday.” Again, I encouraged him to go back to his office and lie down. I knew that he had an upcoming international assignment and would need the rest.

Then, he grabbed my wrist again, looked me right in
the eye, and asked, “Joe, are you happy?” I will never forget the rush of emotions. I felt love, compassion, appreciation, and peace all at once. It was just a question, but at that moment, I thought, “Are you kidding me? Here he is, an Apostle of the Lord, struggling with one of those bugs we all get, and he is worried about my happiness!”

I responded with openness and honesty right from my heart: “Yes, I am happy!”

To which he replied, “Good!” That brought another flood of emotions.

These few words were a small act of kindness that helped me feel both peace and happiness. I know that as we serve and are served, we can both experience and share happiness. Heavenly Father’s plan is called the plan of happiness (see Alma 42:8).

Tied with Kindness

My second example is also simple, but it too will never be forgotten. Following the closing prayer at a session of general conference in October 2017, the General Authorities and officers were leaving the stand when one of the Seventy tapped me on my shoulder and said, “Brother Brough, your shoe is untied.” He then knelt down and tied my shoe. He knelt down and tied my shoe!

I did not know what to do. I thought of pulling my foot away and saying, “No, I will do that.” At first, I was embarrassed that a member of the Seventy was kneeling and tying my shoe. Then I found myself feeling such love from this servant of Heavenly Father and also from Heavenly Father Himself. This was one of the kindest acts I have experienced in my whole life. With tears in my eyes, I thought, “What a great example! I might not be able to do much, but I, too, can always tie someone’s shoe.”

Service in His Name

“Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:23). The Master taught us about service. We need to learn of Him and listen to the Holy Ghost and Church leaders, and then we must bring service in His name to others. As we take time to speak a kind word, to take true interest in someone, or to perform an act as simple as tying someone’s shoe, we show that we are learning of Him and listening to His words, and that we are walking in the meekness of His Spirit. By doing so, we will find eternal peace.