October marks the beginning of autumn festivities; Halloween kicks off Thanksgiving and then Christmas, as well as Alaska Day and Veterans Day and other holiday events. We’re seeing cold, clear skies in Juneau this week. After several weeks of rain, the sunshine is welcome. For me, autumn is both bittersweet, a time to look forward to holidays and time with family, but it’s sad that summer and warm weather are behind us. Let’s all look forward to positive things as we enter the fall season.
I recently traveled out of state and stopped at a tourist attraction during a time when visitor numbers were slow. I noticed that the young people at the cash register were having some difficulties while purchasing ice cream cones and other items. The second young lady who checked me out, “Beauty” I’ll call her, left a lasting impression on me that still makes me smile weeks later.
Beauty was wheelchair-bound, bent over, and had limited hand and arm mobility. She had prepared a pen that she placed in her mouth to touch the computer screen, and she had learned to move her arms and hands to hold the price scanner. When I got to the register, she greeted me with the biggest smile I’d seen in a long time, introduced herself, and chatted cheerfully with me as we worked together to scan through my items.
I couldn’t help but smile and be grateful for Beauty’s attitude and positivity. The beauty made me stop and think about how lucky I was to be interacting with it. Weeks later I still feel a joyful urge in my heart and my day becomes brighter as I think about her Beauty and the impact her smile and attitude had on me. Thank you, Beauty, for sharing the beauty of your day and for bringing beauty and light to the people you interact with.
Jesus taught us to serve others; The parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of this. Jesus also ministered to others when he healed a blind man and lepers. He gave hope to the woman at the well. I am sure that he performed this service by looking forward, smiling and with the love in his heart. I don’t know if beauty has any faith, but I do know that she radiates beauty from within and that Jesus would approve of her efforts to look forward, be positive, and share her joy with others.
Our church recently held a worldwide conference called General Conference. The speakers inspired us. Here are a few quotes from some of the speakers at the conference that align with trying to look forward and serving others.
• “Eternal life is eternal joy. Joy in this life right now; not in spite of the difficulties of our day, but because of the Lord’s help to learn from them and ultimately overcome them, and an immeasurable joy in the life to come” (Amy A Wright).
• “Despite our best efforts, you and I will not cure everyone, but each of us can be someone who can make a difference for the better in someone’s life.” (Ian S Ardern)
• “The light of a new day shines brighter in our lives when we view and treat our brothers and sisters with respect and dignity and as true brothers and sisters in Christ.” (Ulisses Soares)
•“We will never regret being too kind. In God’s eyes, goodness is synonymous with greatness. Part of being kind is being forgiving and not judging.” (Gary B. Sabin)
The holidays can be stressful for some in our society. Winter brings less physical light, cooler temperatures, and the challenges of shoveling snow and driving safely in less-than-ideal conditions. I hope that in the coming months each of us can look for the positives and look for the beauty around us. Seek the light and be someone else’s light. See the white, clean, snow-covered landscape, enjoy the view no longer obstructed by tree leaves, watch the stars on cold, clear nights, take extra time to appreciate careful drivers on the roads, and smile. Look for the light and beauty in others and be the light and beauty for others.
• Donna Leigh is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Juneau Alaska Stake. “Living and Growing” is a weekly column written by diverse authors and hosted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.