Saturday, April 21, 2012

Service Fail

In an effort to teach my children to love those around them and be more charitable I decided to step up my own game.  I really like the idea of having a service day each week where I concentrate on a few projects or on one big thing.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't depending on teaching classes, appointments, lesson plans and all the other things that creep up when you're a Stay-At-Home-working Mom with 2 jobs.  I try to keep my ears open for ways I can serve and when it works out I get really excited.  I LOVE it!

Recently, I became aware of a couple ladies in my ward with some health issues.  One sister has had a tremendous amount of medical problems and now to top off a long list she is suffering from ovarian cancer.  The other sister had the first signs of a heart attack.  She's helping her daughters try to raise their kids and is very quiet about her needs.  I thought I'd take some tulips to each of them, maybe visit, do some dishes, clean their bathrooms whatever they needed.  I had these thoughts of grandeur.  With my visit they'd have their spirits lifted and some chores done besides.  They'd feel loved by both me and Heavenly Father cause I'm just what they've needed and I'm His instrument to help them....I know, I'm a geek sometimes.

So I gathered some flowers and went to the first house...the one with the sister who'd just had a slight heart attack and is raising those grand kids.  No answer at the door.  But a couple dogs were barking like crazy.  Then I thought, I wonder if she's laying down and didn't hear me?  So I knocked some more (like that was necessary- anyone who could hear those dogs would know someone was at the door).  Still no answer.  Then I wondered, what if she's having issues and can't come to the door?'  (I tend to play in my mind and can be somewhat paranoid).  I tried peeking in a window to the side of the door to see if I could see anyone laying on the couch or some movement.  Then I realized if a neighbor was watching they'd be calling the police about the "peeping tom".  I left.

I went to the other sister's house.  Her husband let me in.  He seemed awkward about me coming to see her but let me in and quietly walked me to her bedroom.  She was in bed facing away from me, hooked up to oxygen.  He shook her gently and said, "Sister Browning is here do you want to say hi?"  She let out a quiet mumbled "Hi." and went back to sleep.  He was about to try again and I had this overwhelming feeling of guilt for waking her from her needed sleep, I felt I was imposing rather than being helpful.  I just told him it's okay - to let her know when she woke up that I'd come to see her.  I gave him the flowers to put in her room and I left...after I picked up the bowls from dinner I'd left with them the previous week.  I got more out of that visit than she did.  He did tell me that she's pretty out of it.  She probably won't realize I had come, nor see the flowers that were supposed to brighten her day, at least not while they still looked good.  They were already starting to droop.

I went to the car and realized the flowers I had for the first sister were already drooping as well - the ONLY draw back of a beautiful warm day.  I knew I needed to get them to her so I drove across town again to see if she was home.  Score!  She was.  I knocked on the door.  The dogs started barking again.  I opened the screen door and she opened the main door.  A big dog about knocked me over and took off down the street.  She yelled at him and he didn't even glance back, like he'd been waiting for this freedom- and someone clueless enough to hand it to him.  I gave her the wilted flowers and said, "I'll go chase him down."  She stopped me and said he wouldn't come to me because he doesn't know me and will just run further away.  I apologized and let her know I'd heard she'd had some problems and wanted to come check on her.  She said she was fine (her tired face betrayed that).  She let me in but kept looking at the door.  I knew she was worried about the dog.  I asked if he would come back on his own?  She said no, that she'd have to use meat to coax him home.  I sheepishly offered to take the meat and get him.  She said no.  She'd have to go do it, but since I'd come to help maybe I could watch her grand kids while she did that.

I felt like such a heel.  Great help I was!  She didn't take long, thank heavens.  I didn't want her out there breaking a sweat in her condition, on my account.  I couldn't believe the inconvenience I'd created.  Why did I open that door?  I'd heard the dogs earlier.  I did take that few minutes to look in the kitchen and bathroom to see what I could clean while she was gone.  It was already clean.  Her house looked great.  So I played with her cute little grand kids.  Probably got them all hyped up for her to take care of the rest of the day.  Needless to say, my service for the day was of no help to anyone.  I made a lady with a heart condition run down the street after her dog and woke up a sick lady.  Wow.  Hoping things go better next week.

Have any good (bad) service stories of your own?  I'm probably alone on this one.


  1. Trina,
    YOU WERE A GREAT HELP! You never know when your an answered prayer. Some people sometimes, want to know someone cares, they don't need much, just that. You just don't know what they talk about on their knees. I bet you lifted their spirits... and made an ordinary day... exciting! :) Who doesn't like something new to do or some excitement! :) I think your heart was in the right place. We have been doing our daily 60 seconds of courage is what we called ours at FHE... all week. Today Cally and I helped the Tolleys move out and into their new place in 4 hours. WE are wiped.. but loved helping... every day each of my kids found someone to serve, even if it was to help them smile! I think you did great!

  2. Thanks for brightening my day! I got my first chuckle after a day of being sick at home. Your story was too funny, and all that good intention and effort. Somehow, I know it wasn't wasted, tho it sure looks like it!

  3. I loved this sweet post. I will tell you that even if it seemed like you were not helping them. The truth is they will know you care. I also think that the husband was perhaps the one probably needed the visit more than a wife. Being a caregiver is hard work. I would try going there again may just for him. I know that the other sister with the dog; loved you for coming and caring. I tell you these things because I was a hospice nurse for several years and sometimes whenI went to care for a patient; it would be the caregiver that I felt I helped the most. I loved your idea to have a service day. I have two sisters that I so need to visit that recently lost their husbands; so I think I will get my body in gear and go see them. See your post has helped me.
    Blessings to you for your generous heart.

  4. are a SAINT! You may think your service was a "flop", but just the fact that you took so much time out of your already busy day (I know you're a busy mom) to do something nice for these ladies is such a selfless thing to do! You are so sweet! I can guarantee you those ladies appreciated your service more than you know.

  5. And THIS is exactly how I foresee any service project I do going :) But I have to say your heart was in such a good place and regardless, I think you just showing up says a lot to these two sisters, that you care - in a slightly annoying way maybe - but you do LOL!! I'm just kidding about the annoying part ;)


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