Reach Higher
June 2024

“Reach Higher,” Liahona, June 2024.

Latter-day Saint Voices

Reach Higher

I wondered why Emily had stopped along the path until I saw her reach out for the young woman behind her.

two blindfolded young women walking while holding on to a rope

Photograph by the author

While my wife served as our ward Young Women president, each summer she invited me to Young Women camp to help with outdoor activities. During a recent camp, I helped with a ropes course the young women walked while blindfolded.

Those walking the course had to hold on to a thin rope that stretched from one tree to another. After they reached each tree, they would feel around the tree’s trunk for the section of rope that led to the next tree. The course featured a few difficult areas, including a dead end. I helped participants if they stumbled or had trouble with one particularly tricky spot halfway through the course.

At that spot, the rope tied into a tree as usual. But the rope leading to the next tree was located a few feet above the rope coming into the tree. By that point in the course, the young women were used to merely reaching around each tree trunk to locate the next rope. When they struggled to find the higher rope, I told them, “Reach higher.”

Like others before her, a young woman named Emily soon became frustrated trying to find the higher rope. After about 20 seconds, I whispered, “Reach higher.” Emily soon found the rope, but then she paused.

Instead of proceeding, Emily turned and reached out for the young woman behind her, Gwen. Then Emily gently lifted Gwen’s hand to the higher rope so she would know where to find it. Emily then went on her way, and Gwen followed.

Emily’s helpful gesture was small, but it reminded me of our weighty responsibility as disciples of Jesus Christ to assist others along the covenant path, help God’s children reach higher, and “lift up the hands which hang down” (Doctrine and Covenants 81:5).

“As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves,” taught Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency. He also said: “When we reach out to bless the lives of others, our lives are blessed as well. Service and sacrifice open the windows of heaven, allowing choice blessings to descend upon us” (“Happiness, Your Heritage,” Liahona, Nov. 2008, 119).