My life has drastically changed over the last month. Actually over the last six months and I am happy to say that I am doing well. I haven’t written anything since September and that was only a book review. I am living on the opposite side of the country, working a new job and I am with my last child living in an apartment. Quite the change from the first of the year.
But the spell was broken a few days ago when tragedy struck and I was snapped out of my fog. A good friend; a very good friend had been in an auto accident almost two years ago now. I visited her in the hospital. Her ankles were broken and feet just about crushed. Her wrist broken and there were other bumps and bruises that were too many to count. But she survived. Not only did she survive but was on the mend starting out in a wheel chair and learning to walk again and then graduating to a cane but the plates they put in her feet had caused her pain and the bone was growing around the plate. The surgery the doctor’s scheduled was supposed to fix all of that and life was going to be much less painful for her. But another diagnosis came up right before the surgery of Sleep Apnea and that is what got her. She went under the anesthesia and never came out. So young at 40. So unexpected.
My whole world was spinning around when I found out. She was a friend to many. She had such a large circle of influence. A marketing genius in a large company, an instructor to students in night classes, a Young Women’s leader at church, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a wife. The list goes on and on. She was taken to the next life leaving behind so many that she loved and loved her. So this time of reflection, when I know my friend has gone on and left behind such a hole, I think about our own lives and our own circle of influence.
Like the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, what would happen to us if someone close to us was snatched up to the next life unexpectedly and left a hole? What if we were the ones taken, what kind of hole would we leave behind? These are the thoughts I had about myself. Do I influence others for good? I hope so.
According to the writings in Paul in the New Testament, the natural affection for people will dwindle and people will become “lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:3). Selfishness is very popular these days. Sacrifice for others and taking the higher road isn’t heard of much. But we can turn our thoughts outward to others. Be the influence for good in our circle of friends and family.
What are we doing in our life to help others and show that we care for them? My friend would not only ask about how we (ourselves) were doing but also about our family. I have heard this more than once from others about her and how she cared about our children and grandchildren.
From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, President Lorenzo Snow said this: “We have been sent into the world to do good to others; and in doing good to others we do good to ourselves. We should always keep this in view, the husband in reference to his wife, the wife in reference to her husband, the children in reference to their parents, and the parents in reference to their children. There is always opportunity to do good to one another.”
The legacy my friend left behind will be felt for generations because of all the good she has done quietly and without fanfare. Most people who know her wouldn't know all of this. A circle of influence lasts forever.