At my coxing Esther wiggled out of her mother’s arms and crawled over her daddy’s legs onto my lap. She soon recognized that her Grandma was ill prepared with the standard equipment traditionally used for entertaining toddlers during Sacrament Meeting, ie. Cheerios, Sippy Cup, board books etc.
I quickly inventoried the contents of my empty-nester church bag for anything that might possibly capture her attention. I put a squeeze of lotion onto her baby girl palm and rubbed her hands together. Next I used a few pages in my steno pad/journal and to the best of my pitiful ability drew simple familiar objects for her which she practiced recognizing: tree, flower, house, cat, ice cream, and truck. That was the extent of what my purse had to offer and the benediction was not in sight.
With resources running out and wanting to enjoy her company as long as possible I remembered I was wearing my missionary badge. This badge is attached to my Sunday clothes and held in place with set of magnet. I removed it from my blazer and succeeded in fascinating her with the magic of the two magnets. I placed the badge along with the second magnet in her little hand. For a few minutes she was quite captivated. She pulled the magnets apart and then observed the mystery of having them snap back together. Then the fun came to an end. The magnets snapped together in such a way that it was impossible for her to use her little fingers to pull them apart.
I was sure she would soon break into a toddler tantrum. Time for Grandma to help! She was sitting face forward in my lap, and before I made my move to rescue her from frustration she turned her little head so her blue eyes met mine. “Help” she simply said in the most peaceful trusting voice I have ever heard.
I have many times been taken aback by the over the top response of a child to a simple frustration. The sound of the wining that escalates into an outright inconsolable uncontrollable tantrum (theirs and mine) seems to linger and sometimes cloud the atmosphere of the home long after the problem is resolved. When my grown kids and I sit around on a Sunday night and reminisce, these loud, intense, crazy moments in our past are easily remembered.
Curiously I don’t know if I will ever forget Esther’s pure, trusting, simple request for help that day in church. It made a striking impression on my mind and on my heart. I leaned back on the bench and thought about how difficult it is to help a child who is beyond help. They become so worked up over their need and so very sure they aren’t going to receive help fast enough or maybe not at all, that they couldn’t recognize it if the National Guard showed up to solve their problem.
I’ve been that child at times in relation to my earthly parents and to my Heavenly Father, so over wrought, and so overcharged that I am emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually incapable of receiving assistance.
Esther’s humble and faith-filled rendering of the word “help” still hangs in the air over my conscience. Her calm voice was evidence that she had absolutely no doubt about my willingness and ability to help her.
Now, I recognize that earth life is full of some very serious challenges. I do not fault myself or any one else for feeling the pain and the desperate need and the insecurity that comes naturally with the grave trials and struggles we are called to experience as we walk “through the valley of the shadow of death” so to speak. Crying out to the Lord for help certainly has its place.
On the other hand, I find myself facing countless frustrations, problems, and struggles every day that vary in degree of seriousness. Today I want to keep in mind that the Lord is willing and capable of helping me with anything, and I mean ANYTHING large or small. I want to remember Esther’s blue eyes looking with complete trust into mine. I want to remember how she simply and quietly spoke the word “Help” knowing I was not across the universe or even across the room. I was right there by her. I was holding her. And so it is with God. He hears me and He responds.
Sometimes a simple, trusting “Help” is many times more effective than the cry for “Help” followed by hundreds of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!………………………….
By Nannette W.
Posted Saturday, May 8, 2010.
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