“Caroling with Chrslyn,” New Era, Dec. 2005, 27
I had won the race. The prize seat in the minivan was mine. As I squeezed in between my best friend and the guy I had a crush on, I thought, “Life is great.” Soon I would be caught up in the normal chatting that accompanies any Mutual Christmas-caroling activity. Only this time, by some chance, I saw Chrslyn—left behind in our mad dash for the vehicles.
I knew Chrslyn from passing conversations in school. I may have even called and invited her to a few Church activities. But in the previous months I had failed to bring her into my circle of friends because she was in a wheelchair.
On that winter night, squashed into a minivan, as I watched her skillfully yet slowly struggle to catch up with us, I realized I also had a disability, and I knew I must change. I must treat Chrslyn as the daughter of God that she was. I decided to help her when she needed it.
As I tried to be of aid, I felt a little frustrated because I was being left out of the fun of the evening. No one even noticed that I was no longer with the group. At one stop, as I was helping Chrysln to her wheelchair, I begged Jared, one of the more outgoing young men, to wait for me. He complied, and soon the other youth began to notice Chrslyn and offer their help in various ways. The quest to help Chrysln soon became a game, as we each fought for a turn in pushing her wheelchair. We rotated the privilege of sitting in the truck with our new friend and generally kept her at the center of attention the whole night.
We soon had a system set up. I was responsible for lifting Chrysln from the vehicle while one of the young men reassembled her wheelchair, and then we were off. Even as we walked up and down the dirt roads that were becoming more mud than dirt, we were not daunted. This was our new mission, and nothing would stop us from helping Chrslyn have the caroling experience of her life.
At the last home we visited, we were able to park close to the house, so instead of reassembling her wheelchair, I just carried Chrslyn to the door. I was surprised at how light she felt. As strains of “Away in a Manger” (Hymns, no. 206) filled the night air, I looked down and saw Chrslyn smiling. Holding her in my arms, I thought of the Savior’s message: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).
In my mind I saw the picture of the Savior healing the lame man near the pool of Bethesda, and I knew this night another miracle had been performed. Only this night it was not the physically lame who had been made whole: it was I, the spiritually blind. I now saw Chrslyn as a person and a friend who had feelings and desires similar to mine.
That night ended, and months passed. Chrslyn and her family left our branch, but I know that through Chrslyn my life was changed. Even now, when I think of this experience, I am reminded to follow the Savior, loving and serving all men, no matter their circumstances, for we are all children of God.