“Me First,” Ensign, July 1979, 66
I was helping a dear friend bind a quilt one day, and as we chatted away, my lifelong habit of “making every minute count” took over. I raced along as if I had a deadline to meet.
She was much older than I, and the mother of one of my classmates, but she was a woman I greatly admired and respected, and age was no barrier. This good woman was a musician who gave freely of her talents to the community and the Church, and had done so for a lifetime. She had accompanied me on numerous occasions. She had a talent for beautiful preludes with augmented chords that held us in quiet reverence.
My friend’s life had not been an easy one, for she was widowed early, and left with a family to raise on a rugged farm. She did the field work, milked the cows, and all of those countless chores that have to be done if a farm produces. Yet the Sabbath would find her at the organ, radiant and ready to serve.
Unconsciously I stitched at the quilt as fast as I could. When we were children, and teased our mother for something to do on rainy days, she would give us a handkerchief to hem. We played a game by seeing who could get to a corner first, turn the corner first, or finish a side. Speed was a habit with me.
We both stitched rapidly on the quilt, but I did not realize how she was struggling to keep up with me until she said, “Oh, I’m no good! It is useless to try to catch up with you. I’ve done hard field work until my hands are stiff and gnarled, and I should not even be working on this nice material.”
I was humiliated at my own thoughtlessness. In this world of competition and “me first,” I had unconsciously set a pace that made her feel inferior unnecessarily. In our relationships with others, how often we need to increase our awareness of their feelings and needs! Ruth W. Heiner, Burley, Idaho