“Lifting Others and Myself,” Ensign, Oct. 2009, 75
It was Thanksgiving of 1990. I had just gone through a difficult divorce, and I was a first-year law student in an unfamiliar city. My children were going to be at their father’s house for the holiday, and for the first time in my life, I would be alone on Thanksgiving.
At first I wanted to feel sorry for myself and have a good cry. But then I began to count my blessings. I had two beautiful children, a nice house, an opportunity to gain knowledge, and the gospel of Jesus Christ to guide my life. I truly had been blessed with many things.
As Thanksgiving approached, I discovered that a group of law students had planned to go to a local mission to help serve an early Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless. I decided that helping at the mission would be better than sitting at home feeling lonely and bitter, so I joined my fellow students.
A few days later I found myself placing hot mashed potatoes on the plates of hungry, grateful, life-tossed people. The tears that welled up in my eyes were not for the sadness I felt for myself; rather, they were tears of love for all of God’s children, no matter their circumstances.
Thanksgiving wouldn’t have been Thanksgiving without a turkey in the oven. But a 14-pound (6-kg) turkey would be too much for me, so I invited several students who were from other countries and faraway states to join me. I wanted to share a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner, but I invited them to contribute. I asked each to bring a favorite dish from home. Our Thanksgiving dinner turned out to be a delightful and memorable meal—egg rolls and all.
King Benjamin declared, “Behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
I learned wisdom that Thanksgiving Day. By offering service when it was easier to sit around and mope, I found joy. Service is the key to happiness not only during the holidays, when it is easy to get caught up in what is missing from our lives, but also during any season. No matter what our situation, we can always find someone to help. By lifting our brothers and sisters, we also lift ourselves.