“Cold Cereal or Hot Soup?” Ensign, Apr. 2001, 65–66
I could tell it was going to be a difficult day. After a restless night I woke up to the full assault of influenza—headache, nausea, fever, and chills. The day before, my husband had kissed me good-bye before boarding a plane for a business trip to the East Coast of the United States.
How am I going to take care of myself, let alone four children? I wondered. I called Ben, my seven-year-old, to my room and charged him with the task of watching his younger brother and sisters.
That afternoon my visiting teacher called on the phone. She perceived I wasn’t feeling well and offered to help, but I declined the offer. “We’re fine,” I insisted.
Ben did the best job a seven-year-old could do. The children ate cold cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But the diaper rash, dirty dishes, and disarray told me I should have allowed my visiting teacher to help. Why had I not accepted her offer?
Months later I attended a Relief Society lesson that focused on occasions recorded in the scriptures when the Savior received service. For example:
While journeying through Samaria on His way to Galilee, Jesus stopped at a well to rest. When a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water, He entreated her: “Give me to drink.” An opportunity for Him to teach the woman followed, and ultimately many Samaritans came to believe in Christ because of this woman’s testimony (see John 4:7–42).
While dining in the house of Simon the Pharisee, Jesus graciously allowed a woman to wipe His feet with her hair and to anoint them with ointment. Jesus perceived the Pharisee’s disapproval, yet He not only permitted but praised the woman’s humble act of service. “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven,” He declared; “for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (see Luke 7:36–50).
Jesus asked two of His disciples to bring Him a donkey to ride into Jerusalem, and when He entered the city the crowd cast their garments and palm leaves in His path. “Hosanna to the Son of David,” the people shouted. He accepted their worshipful jubilation fit for a king (see Matt. 21:1–9).
The Savior’s invitation “Follow me” was apparently more inclusive than I had previously understood. These scriptural examples suggested that we should follow His example not only in giving compassionate service but also in receiving service graciously.
Another year the flu season found me again. Five children now graced our home, and the East Coast still beckoned my husband for weeklong business trips. However, this time when a dear friend called and asked how I was, I told her I felt terrible.
She responded, “I’ll be right over.” She took my little ones for the day, providing for their care and allowing me the rest I so desperately needed. When she brought the children home that night she also brought homemade chicken noodle soup. How my children feasted on that soup! The next morning she called again, and because I was still feeling ill I allowed her to take my children the second day. Another friend took care of them the third day until I got back on my feet. These dear sisters were as ministering angels to me and my children.
How grateful I am for the Savior’s admonition to follow Him in all things!