Sunday, October 7, 2012

Confession is good for the soul

Twice a year we of the Mormon persuasion participate in general conference, a marathon weekend of council, stories that are mostly funny because of the speaker's facial expressions, spirituality and making me feel really, really bad about what a terrible person I am.

It's a grand tradition, really. One of my favorites is when I hear about teenagers who had the option to play sports on Sunday -- and these are teenagers who are really super good at sports and have scholarships and championships and important stuff on the line -- choose to not play sports on Sunday and then become wonderful people. I was the teenager who appreciated not having to go to church on the Sundays I had soccer.

But anyway, Sabbath day soccer aside, service was kind of the theme of the weekend. As in, when you feel a prompting to do service, when you're given the opportunity, when you even see an opportunity, you do it. Do. It. Do it, Heidi, do it! Nothing else is as important as helping other people.

Rewind 3.5 weeks ago. It's about 5:45 a.m.; I'm in the Berlin train station. I've been up for more than an hour already. I was worried about getting to my train in time, but I'd arrived at the station a few minutes before my train left and was in the process of racing with my luggage from the top floor of the station to the bottom. If I missed this train, I'd waiting for another hour, in the train station, a schedule I was not excited about.

Then I hurried past a woman with a baby sitting on a bench, sobbing. I'm talking seriously anguished tears here. I thought for a second about stopping, but, I rationalized (yes, I said it), I couldn't comunicate in German and she might not speak English, in all likelihood there was nothing I could do (these were not tears of 'I'm having a rough day') and besides, I might miss my train. So I did not stop.

Coincidentally, various church meeetings since then have centered around how only selfish jerks don't take advantage of opportunities to serve, or something like that. Funny how that works out. I guess I'm now on the lookout for another person sobbing in public, or the American non-train station equivalent, to redeem myself as not a selfish jerk.


  1. You're not a selfish jerk. You blew it once. But let it be a good reminder to you. Last week I passed a lady walking with 3 bags of groceries. I thought I should offer her a ride. I didn't because I was too busy and besides it's not safe to give people rides, but then I turned around and went back. She declined my offer, but I felt better anyway.

    1. One time I offered to take a woman home from the store. She was super old and it was snowing, which was much of the impetus, but I actually sized her up before I stopped and decided that if things went down, I could probably take her. It was a good moment in my life. :)