“Serving to the End,” Ensign, Oct. 2001, 45
Serving to the End
Margret had been an old woman for as long as Jane could remember. When Margret was the Beehive instructor, she had taught Jane how to sew. Later, she had helped Jane through the crisis of teenage dating, her engagement and temple marriage, and the births of her children.
Margret had always been there for people—a shoulder to cry on, the apple pie baker, the woman who performed compassionate service without being asked. She had lots of energy, as an exhausted Jane discovered when Margret came over and stayed up all night caring for a sick child so Jane could sleep.
“What must life be like for her now?” Jane wondered as she drove along the tree-lined street toward the convalescent home where Margret was now dying. At 97, nearly every part of her body was worn out, and she passed her days lying in bed.
At least she isn’t in any pain, Jane thought to herself. What can I say to her to help her feel better?
After parking her car, Jane walked quickly down the long corridor toward Margret’s room. She knocked softly and entered. Margret’s face looked very small. She was blind and too weak to turn her head.
“It’s Jane,” Jane said, hoping Margret had not heard her voice crack.
“How good of you to come,” Margret said. “What can I do for you?”
Jane was startled by her question, but managed a light laugh. “Now, Margret, you’ve been ‘doing for’ people all your life. It’s our turn to do for you.”
“Oh,” said Margret, “but now I can finally do some good!”
“What are you talking about?” Jane asked.
By now Margret’s face was glowing. “Before I came here, there was so little time,” she said. “I always had places to go and children to read to. Now I have uninterrupted time from morning until night. The nurses and orderlies come in and tell me their problems and the problems of their children. I can spend the entire day praying for them, and I know the Lord hears my prayers. He has answered every one.”
Tears filled Jane’s eyes as she realized she had been taught a lesson in serving to the end.