I was 16, my little sister 14; we had just left the store and climbed back into my car. I was pulling out of my parking spot, my sister Jenna was in the passenger seat, when I slowed. We both watched a frail elderly man who was working to push his cart of groceries to his car. He was trying to cross over a large speed bump, and as he did, the balance shifted, the cart turned sideways, he and the cart fell, spilling into the street.
It all seemed to happen in slow motion. But what I remember most vividly was that as I turned to my little sister and urgently asked: “Should we help him?” I realized I was alone. The car door was swinging open, and as I looked up through my windshield, I saw her running to his side, kneeling down – reaching out – helping him get to his feet. That moment has always haunted me.
I was waiting for permission to do the right thing, to make a difference.
Doctrine and Covenants 64:33 says, “Be not weary in well-doing.” But I would like to add, be not fearful either.
Camilla E. Kimball said (and it’s one of my favorites): “Never suppress a generous thought.”
I have learned that when I hesitate, when I convince myself I’m wrong, or not the right person, or that I may not offer my gesture in the right way, I hesitate, and hesitate, and hesitate some more… Those are the moments I come to regret. Sometimes I am given the opportunity to see exactly what I missed, other times I realize I’ll never know.
I am learning (slower than I’d like) that when I give in to my fear-based reactions, I miss an opportunity to be His hands.
Fear is never from God. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love (2 Tim 1:7).
So instead, let’s try to never suppress a generous thought – no matter how clumsy we might come across. It is our effort that counts, not our perfect execution.