One thing Mormons do better than just about anyone is to circle the wagons. As a people, we love to help. We prepare, we practice, we take classes, we bring casseroles, and heaven knows, we store our wheat. I’ve watched with fascination over the years, as my membership in the church has mellowed from newbie to fully-aged and sort-of mellowed active, adult, endowed member. I’ve participated, as my friends practice what they preach- or at the very least, make a mighty effort to do so. I read posts like this one, and especially this one and I find myself swelling with pride. These are My People, and I am counted among the flock.
Now, I find myself in the unenviable position of needing that charity we are so famous for. For a long time, I was the newbie in my ward, the convert everyone checked on and worried about and showered with love. The bloom is long off that rose. And yet- in the middle of this horrible divorce, where I cannot see what is coming, and cannot yet sort out the wreckage behind me, I look up through the dust to see a circle around me.
The wagons have been circled, and I and my children are safely in the middle of that tight, loving, organized, closely bound company of Saints.
I don’t know what lies outside the circle. And the thing is, I am learning I don’t have to know. There are people willing to fight that battle for me. This stuns me. I stand in the middle of the circle, and am awed by the resources and love marshaled on my behalf. Can I really sit and warm myself by the fire of my friend while someone else helps find my cows and serves my children some dinner? Not only can I, but I am told I am blessing others if I allow myself to be so served.
At first I was dubious. It’s far more comfortable to give to others than it is to receive. Everyone knows that. And heaven knows, the last thing I want is to ever expect anyone to do things for me I am perfectly capable of doing myself. And yet the circle tightened. The love increases…
Packages are left on my doorstep. Checks are slipped in my pocket at church. Cards arrive with the post, food and gifts show up on my welcome mat. Emails flood my mailbox. A home teacher or a bishop stops by to give me a blessing. Another sister was driving by and felt compelled to stop and take my kids. My son is baptized, and on 24 hours notice the room is overflowing with friends from multiple wards. It is an embarrassment of riches, were I to try and catalog it.
My heart is humbled by what is being done for me and my children. Of one thing I am certain; there is no earthly way for me to ever repay the people who have circled around me, who have given me shelter in the storm, who have loved me and preformed miracles as the hands of my Savior. Indeed, no repayment is humanly possible.
Miracles happen. They happen as normal, everyday people reach out to others in their hour of need, and allow the Lord to work through their hands. Hands that wipe the brow, sop the tears, hold the weeping and grieving, and hands that guide the traces of the wagons into that tight, loving, safe circle. Those hands are working miracles. Those hands are the hands of Christ.