Women’s Conference, chapter 3: Friendship

DSCF2025For those of you who usually come to this blog for the amazing and uplifting stories about boogers, laundry, and night-time diapers, please indulge me several more days of Women’s Conference summaries.  They may, perhaps, be of no benefit to you, but it’s a good exercise for me to review what I learned a week and a half ago, and to think about what I felt inspired to take notes on.  This picture is me and my good friend, Shantel, at Women’s Conference in the Marriott Center waiting for Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk to begin.  It was great to have a friend to share the whole experience with. (It was of course also wonderful to have my mom there, too, but she didn’t look so hot in the picture, so I cropped her out so she wouldn’t get mad at me.  Hi mom.)

I have some friends who are struggling with big things right now– the kinds of challenges that make my trials laughable.  This is why I chose to attend a class called, “The Hand of an Old Friend: Bearing One Another’s Burdens through  True Friendship,” taught by Shauna Harker and Dixie Taylor.  The class didn’t turn out to be exactly what I was expecting, but I learned some good things and set some new goals.

Here is a random compilation of my notes from this class:

  • We should pray to find the gifts in our life’s experiences, and pray to find people that need an extra touch.
  • When we feel spiritually low ourselves, we should fast and pray (and look for opportunities to serve).
  • We feel alone when we are too busy.  We need to pause; make a phone call, send a note, etc.
  • This was my favorite quote from the class and the most prominent principle I walked away with.  Ruby Haight (Elder David B. Haight’s wife) said:  “If you don’t have a loaf of bread, just give a piece of toast.” I was struck by the fact that what we might normally consider a “lame” or unworthy effort can truly be appreciated and make a difference in someone’s day, or life even.  She also quoted Alma 37:6 about “by small and simple things shall great things come to pass.”
  • Hymn says, “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.”  We should look for the hidden sorrow.  Look for understanding, not judgement.
  • Sheri Dew taught that we should assume that we all are doing the best we can.
  • We gather together for strength, but we bring all our weaknesses and imperfections.
  • Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
  • Mark 2:1-5: (Story of man healed by Christ after friends lowered him through the roof) “And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” It was the faith of the friends that healed the man.  We should not underestimate the power of our prayers and faith on the behalf of loved ones.
  • James 5:16: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
  • Christ is our friend.  D&C 84:88: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”  What am I doing to be Christ’s friend?
  • When feeling alone, excluded, in a new situation, etc., be the first to say hello.  Make the first move.
  • Offer a specific service.  Too often the generic phrase “Is there anything I can do to help?” goes unanswered.  Offer something that you can do to help.  For example, “I’d like to come over and {insert  your idea here: help you fold laundry, bring you a meal, take the kids for a couple hours, etc.}.  When would be a good time?”
  • Look for the good in others.  You’ll always find it.

I’m so grateful for good friends.  Occasionally I need some kind of service (feel free to volunteer right now to do laundry or bring me dinner), but what is the most sustaining to me is a friend’s listening ear– a phone call, a treadmill conversation, a kind comment, etc.  I thank God for surrounding me with kind and forgiving people, who whether in sincerity or due to great acting skills, make me feel important.