I read to my children every day when we start school. This is the one thing we implemented in the very beginning and never changed. Reading together has allowed me to show my children some of the stories that I loved growing up, and to discover new stories together. When we read together it allows us to ask questions and have discussions that wouldn’t happen in any other setting. Together we have discovered distant and even imaginary lands, we have time-traveled to witness amazing historical events, and we have met larger than life individuals from history; all from the comfort of our living room.
We just finished reading Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life. Today, instead of giving you a helpful homeschool principle as I have in past posts, I would like to share a life principle that we learned in our reading. Helen Keller wrote:
Sometimes, it is true, a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life’s shut gate. Beyond there is light, and music, and sweet companionship; but I may not enter. Fate, silent, pitiless, bars the way. Fain would I question his imperious decree; for my heart is still undisciplined and passionate; but my tongue will not utter the bitter, futile words that rise to my lips, and they will fall back into my heart like unshed tears. Silence sits immense upon my soul. Then comes hope with a smile and whispers, “There is joy in self-forgetfulness.” So I try to make the light in others’ eyes my sun, the music in others’ ears my symphony, the smile on others’ lips my happiness.
I thought a lot about her statement as Easter came and went this year. It was hard not getting together with family to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. I longed to hang on to traditions that were not possible with the current social distancing guidelines. We are all, in one way or another, waiting at life’s shut gate. However, when I get frustrated with our current situation and long for the normalcy of just a mere month ago, I remembered that hope comes through the Savior who is the perfect example of self-forgetfulness. He lived a life purely for others and gave us an eternal hope that can only come through Him.
Over this past month, I have seen beautiful displays of self-forgetfulness. I see it in the smile on the faces of people working hard to keep the grocery store stocked and cleaned. I saw it at Costco when a younger woman offered to shop for an older woman standing by her car. I’ve seen it many times in the kind gesture of neighbors to pick something up from the store for another or to donate a pack of toilet paper to someone who was met by empty shelves at the grocery store. I’ve seen it in children leaving a message of love on my driveway with sidewalk chalk. I’ve seen it in people sharing their talents with the world virtually. I saw it in a worldwide fast to appeal to a loving Heavenly Father for relief. I’ve seen it in a simple text or phone call to check-in or a note and a treat left on my porch. I’ve seen it in simple acts of kindness between my children or in having a little more patience when we’re all sick of being home. I saw it in a grandma playing a virtual game of Candy Land with her grandkids over FaceTime.
Yes, this is a challenging time for the world. In many ways, we’re in uncharted territory and it can be scary and overwhelming. My invitation to all is to allow a little self-forgetfulness and follow the simple advice from a child who put a note on her bedroom door that says, “One random act at a time brings us together.”