Unseen Service
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“Unseen Service,” New Era, Dec. 2002, 4

The Message:

Unseen Service

Originally printed in the March 1983 New Era.

The greatest satisfaction in life comes from what we do for others.

Elder L. Tom Perry

Years ago, when our family was living in Massachusetts, we had our home in the little country town of Weston, about 13 miles west of Boston. It was a very quaint, sophisticated community with many picturesque, winding country roads lined with hand-fashioned rock walls. The small business section was completely deserted by 9:00 P.M. each evening. Yet for all its quaintness, Weston had its problems, especially with many of the high school and junior high students who used drugs and brought liquor into the town where alcohol was illegal.

However, I would like to tell you about one Weston High School student who was too busily engaged in other pursuits to become involved with drugs or alcohol. This young man spent a lot of time on the ski slopes. Being an avid skier in New England is not unusual, but what this boy did with his talent is unusual. He was an expert skier and loved the sport. In fact, he was an instructor and spent even his spare time teaching others to ski. You could regularly see him coming down the mountainside very close to one of his pupils, who was oftentimes years older than he. They would start slowly but gather speed as they made graceful turns down the slope, all the time carrying on a conversation, laughing, enjoying the invigorating air and the sparkling sunshine. Observers would take note and follow the pair with their eyes until they reached the bottom, regarding them as just two more skiers having a great time.

What the onlookers did not realize was that one of the skiers was blind. This young Weston High School student was teaching the blind to ski. He did it free of charge. When he first had the idea, he discussed it with others and was advised by all to forget it. He was told over and over that it would simply be impossible.

But this young man had witnessed the hopelessness of some of the blind people and wanted to share with them one of the pleasures of his life. He wanted them to have a feeling of accomplishment and success. He wished to give them a new dimension to their lives. He wanted them to feel that they were real, whole individuals. He really cared. He cared enough to devote the time necessary to develop a rapport of love, encouragement, and understanding with these people to help them build faith in themselves and in their own abilities. Gradually mutual friendships blossomed.

These blind people placed their trust in this young man. He was their friend. He was the only one they would permit to put on their boots and snap them into their bindings. In their training, he said that helping them develop an attitude of trust and faith in themselves was the important thing. After that, the technique would come easily.

The last I heard, he had been successful in teaching 13 blind people to ski and was in the process of teaching more. He had even been requested to write a manual on teaching the blind to ski. He possessed then, and I am sure he still does, the confidence which comes with success. But more importantly, he has developed lasting friendships and has learned how to love and share through worthwhile service.

It is an eternal truth that the greatest satisfaction we find in this life is not that which is done for self but that which is given for the benefit of another.

Service has been a part of gospel teachings from the very beginning. From Adam to the present, we have been encouraged to serve our fellowmen. I had the privilege of witnessing a real fulfillment of Paul’s counsel to the Galatians when he instructed them, “by love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).

As this young man from Weston found fulfillment in his service to the blind, so each of us can find the rewarding satisfaction which comes when we “by love serve one another.”

May God bless all of us with the desire to find the true joy of service.

Illustrated by Sam Lawlor