Because Sally Smiled
August 2003

“Because Sally Smiled,” Liahona, Aug. 2003, 42–43

Because Sally Smiled

Shortly after I moved into a new neighborhood, the local bishop sent a letter welcoming me to the ward and apologizing that my home teachers hadn’t contacted me yet. Although I appreciated and saved his letter, I rarely attended church and didn’t take the first step back to full activity until one Sunday morning several years later.

Feeling that I should go to church, I looked up the meetinghouse closest to me and headed off, alone and nervous. The parking lot was full. I pulled in, feeling like an out-of-place stranger labeled “less active.” As I approached the back doors, a woman ahead of me struggled with an unwieldy baby carrier while shepherding another child alongside her. Despite her full load, she held the door open for me with a smile and said, “Hi, I’m Sally!” Caught off guard by her friendliness, I returned the greeting. Sally continued down the hall, leaving me glad I had come.

When the bishop announced the blessing of new babies during fast and testimony meeting, I was surprised to see my new friend give the baby to her husband to take to the front. Her newborn was being blessed that day, and she had still taken the time to greet me! I sheepishly reflected that if I had just had a new baby, welcoming an unknown woman to church would be the last of my concerns.

Becoming active was a gradual process, but Sally and other thoughtful members continued to befriend me. Diligent visiting teachers set up appointment after appointment. Friendly ward members called to tell me about stake conference or changes in the meeting schedule. Single adult leaders consistently invited me to activities, even when they knew my polite “Maybe I’ll come” really meant “Don’t plan on me.” And eventually their efforts were rewarded.

Although Sally’s simple greeting took no planning and very little time, her kind act helped open the door for me to enjoy the blessings of Church activity. Many years later I still reflect often upon the results of Sally’s smile.

  • Jennifer L. McQuade is a member of the Lithia Springs Ward, Powder Springs Georgia Stake.