The Kindness of Others

DavidStoll-clothIt was Sunday afternoon.  We were in our usual spot.  While the rest of the congregation enjoyed sacrament service from the chapel, we occupied the foyer. Emma ran around gleefully, enjoying the independence that comes with being two.  David was strapped into his blue Graco stroller, the one we used for him when he was a toddler (now a few sizes too small). His lanky, five-year-old legs sprawled past the foot rest and touched the floor.  Although it was a tight fit, he was contained … our only assurance he wouldn’t make a mad dash from the building.

He was chewing a small, white towel, the one we use to manage his chewing compulsion and keep his Sunday shirt from developing holes.

Jeff, an especially kind man in our ward, passed by.  After greeting Rob and I, he hunched down in front of the stroller and attempted to connect with David.  Immune to his attempts, David stared away.

Jeff then picked up the dry end of the towel hanging from David’s mouth, and put it in his own mouth.  David’s eyes widened with delight.  Jeff now had his full attention.  Together they played a game of tug-of-war, each clenching a corner of the towel between their teeth.

Rob and I smiled at each other and then laughed as the game ended.  David took the well-soaked, soggy corner from his own mouth and held it up to Jeff’s … rewarding him with his favorite oral companion.

Not only had Jeff taken the time to connect with David; he’d won his heart.  I loved Jeff for loving David.

When people are kind to David, I feel Heavenly Father’s love for me.  It’s easy for others to look away and pretend they don’t notice him.  Some refrain from interacting with him because they feel awkward or uncomfortable.  They politely keep their distance … not wanting to interfere or give offense.

Then there are those who amaze me.  They go out of their way to interact with my son, even when he doesn’t respond or tries to avoid them.

I feel God’s love through their kind actions.

This is an “essay-length Response” to the Question of the Month which asked … What is the kindest, most thoughtful gesture or service that a fellow ward member has shown to you and your family?

Please consider answering that same question  … briefly, on that page or, as Sister Stoll has done, in the form of a Personal Essay.  We all need to hear the good stories!