October is the start of fall festivities, it ushers in Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas, along with Alaska Day and Veterans Day, and other holiday events. This week here in Juneau we are seeing cold clear skies. The sunshine is welcome after several weeks of rain. Fall for me is bittersweet, time to look forward to holidays and family time, but sad that summer and warmer temperatures are past. As we move into the fall season let us all look forward to the positives.
Recently I traveled out of state and stopped at a tourist attraction during a slow visitor time. As we bought an ice cream cone and some other items, I realized that the young people at the cashier stations had some challenges. The second young lady that checked me out, I’ll call her “Beauty,” made a lasting impression on me that still makes me smile, weeks later.
Beauty was bound to a wheelchair, bent over, with limited hand and arm mobility. She had rigged up a pencil that she placed in her mouth to tap a computer screen, she had learned to maneuver her arms and hands to hold a price scanner. When I walked up to the register, she greeted me with the biggest smile I’d seen in a while, she introduced herself and chatted joyfully with me as we worked together to scan my items.
I couldn’t help but smile and be grateful for Beauty’s attitude and her positive demeanor. Beauty made me stop and think how blessed I was to interact with her. Weeks later, I still get a joyful nudge in my heart and my day is brighter as I think of Beauty and the effect her smile and attitude has on me. Thank you, Beauty, for sharing the beauty in the day, and giving beauty and light to the people you interacted with.
Jesus taught us to serve others, the parable of the Good Samaritan, is one example. Jesus served others when he healed a blind man and lepers. He gave hope to the woman at the well. I’m sure he did this service with a look forward, with a smile and with love in his heart. I don’t know if Beauty has any religious beliefs but I know she radiated beauty from within and that Jesus would approve of her efforts to look forward and be positive and share her joy with others.
Our church recently had a worldwide conference, called General Conference. Speakers gave us inspiration. Here are a few quotes from some of the speakers at the conference that coincide with trying to look forward and serving others.
• “Eternal life is eternal joy. Joy in this life, right now — not despite the challenges of our day but because of the Lord’s help to learn from and ultimately overcome them — and immeasurable joy in the life to come.” (Amy A Wright).
• “Despite our every effort, you and I won’t heal everyone but each of us can be the one who can make a difference for good in the life of someone.” (Ian S Ardern)
• “The light of a new day shines brighter in our lives when we see and treat our fellow beings with respect and dignity and as true brothers and sisters in Christ.” (Ulisses Soares)
•“We will never regret being too kind. In God’s eyes, kindness is synonymous with greatness. Part of being kind is being forgiving and non-judgmental.” (Gary B. Sabin)
Holidays can be stressful for some in our community. Winter brings less physical light, colder temperatures, and challenges of snow shoveling and driving safely in less than ideal conditions. I hope we can each look for the positives in the coming months and seek the beauty around us. Look for the light and be the light for someone else. See the white clean snow-laden landscape, enjoy the view that tree leaves no longer obscure, view the stars on cold clear nights, take extra moments to appreciate careful drivers on the roads, and smile. Look for the light and beauty in others, and be the light and beauty for others.
• Donna Leigh is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Juneau Alaska Stake.“Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.