“When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated.” –Lorenzo Snow
I love this quote. I was reminded again this week that many people have things going on in their lives that we can't see. I am including myself as one of those people. Life never seems to be just how we would like it. I ask the same question over and over again expecting a different answer. I think one day I will get a different answer, but for now patience seems to be the only answer I get. I feel like I’m kind of at a standstill.
While at work this past week I had a lot of opportunities to walk around and talk to a lot of different people that I work with. I like that a lot more than staying in a windowless room sitting behind a computer screen. I like to walk around and mostly I just love talking to people. I don’t know if it’s the sunshine, vacations, or holidays that are coming up, but people seem to want to chat and catch up a lot more. Once again, I am one of those people, however when I have a problem or question on my mind, I seem to ignore everyone around me and just try to focus on that thing.
On Friday I was picking up some papers in another office and noticed that the papers were not filled out correctly. Instead of calling this particular person, I decided I’d check and see if he was at his desk. Luckily he was, but I noticed that there really weren’t a lot of people around. I gave him the papers and had him make a few changes to them. I took them back and turned to go and then stopped for a moment. I realized I was being all business and not very personal, so I turned back around and asked him how he was doing. He could tell I was being sincere and so he decided to give me a sincere answer. He was struggling. He started telling me about his wife and his kids, about his home, about his work situation, and how he didn’t know what to do about his next phase in life.
I was really caught off guard. I was having those same issues, but after talking to him I realized that they were on a much smaller scale, and really not that important. We are coworkers, and I could tell he just really needed someone to talk to. So I gave a few suggestions of things that had helped me, but then I realized I was doing to him, what people always do to me. They try to fix the situation. They find it awkward, and are sad that you are hurting, so they try to fix things for you. Most of the time I don’t want things fixed, I want a friend and a listening ear. So I finally told myself to be quiet and just listen.
There were a few people around, and I was surprised he was being so candid and open. After what felt like 15 minutes he said, “Thanks for listening.” I said, “Thanks for talking to me, you put a lot of things in perspective for me. I guess my problems aren’t that big. I’ll pray for you.” Then I went back to my desk and did some paperwork.
This situation reminded me of a few times on my mission when I quite frankly was being selfish. My companion or those around me were hurting and I had no idea. I was mad at them, or had a lot on my mind and didn’t care how they were doing. Then in a quiet moment the words would come to my mind, “Sometimes people are more important.” That was it. It was a quiet, fleeting thought, and then it would pass. Those 5 words taught me more than I ever could have imagined.
We have a lot to do in a day. It’s hard to be bothered by other people’s lives, especially when there is nothing we can do to help them. However, when we remember that those people are someone else’s father, mother, or child, it helps us realize what is important.