Serving My Family … and God
    Footnotes

    “Serving My Family … and God,” Ensign, June 1986, 47

    Serving My Family … and God

    My friend’s testimony inspired the “guilts” in me. She was thanking half the ward for the kindness they had shown her family during a recent crisis. She thanked some for meals, some for child care, and some for hauling out mountains of laundry. The members of the ward beamed back at her. I squirmed.

    What crisis? I wondered. I was sadly, guiltily uninformed. Why hadn’t she told me she needed help?

    I berated myself. It was up to me to find out, wasn’t it? Did I forget to say, “How are you?” Then she could reply, “Oh, our family is in the midst of a horrendous crisis, but other than that, we’re fine.”

    Admittedly, I had been a little out of touch because I had been recuperating from the recent birth of my new baby. But that didn’t soothe my feelings of guilt. I went home, feeling that I wasn’t doing my share of service, and that I needed to do something about it.

    But I had three boys to feed, bathe, dress, clean up after, read a story to, and get to bed—along with caring for our newborn baby. She was hungry every time she was conscious, wet every time she wasn’t, and crying most of the time in between. I didn’t have time to think how I could serve others.

    Yet the thought that I must serve persisted all day.

    Evening came. I put the boys in bed, then nursed, rocked, changed, nursed, and soothed the baby and put her to bed.

    At about eleven o’clock, I finally had all the children tucked in—or so I thought—and I eased my weary body into bed with a sigh of relief.

    The baby began to cry. I waited. Does she mean it? I thought. She meant it. I sighed another kind of sigh and pulled myself back up to rock and soothe some more.

    Contented at last, the baby curled up. I paused, exhausted, to watch her for a quiet moment. My legs ached, and I realized that I had been on my feet all day—even throughout the testimony meeting.

    Just as I was about to berate myself again about not having the time or energy to serve others as I would have liked to, I was interrupted by a powerful feeling that seemed to fill the room. I felt as if there were angelic beings watching over my daughter and that they were aware of my thoughts. They seemed to let me know, without words, that I was performing valuable service. They were aware of my round-the-clock service to my family, and I felt that they were encouraging and reminding me, “When you are in the service of your fellow beings—even your own family—you are in the service of your God.”

    • Kathleen Null, a writer, serves as public communications director in her Huntington Beach, California, ward.