To Do vs. To Be

I’ve always been a “Do-er”. I’ve had a planner since I was about 12, and through the years I have carefully detailed my daily activities and check list, often by priority. I come from a long line of “Do-ers”. My mom and grandmother get more done in a day than most people do in a month. And my grandmother is 98!

I was all set to continue on as a Do-er. After graduating from college in 3 years, I was challenged by motherhood but wouldn’t let it slow me down. Writing down feeding times and number of dirty diapers changed replaced the college reading list and papers, but it was still all about getting things done.

I happily accomplished through my 20’s, adding baby after baby until number 5 came at the age of 32. Though he brought joy and love in abundance, he also brought my body to an all time low, and I found myself with ill health that just wouldn’t go away. Year after year I spent more and more time in bed, with very little energy, and a better understanding of the word dis-ease. I wasn’t accomplishing anything besides survival, and I wasn’t even doing good at that.

Lying in bed one day, while my oldest watched my youngest, it occurred to me that I was sick of not getting anything done. I had tossed my planner aside; there was no need for it. I could barely even stand to read because the pain was too intense. And that was my favorite pastime. Another child happened to come in right then. She laid on my bed and just started talking about her day at school. I listened; I had nothing better to do and it took my mind off the pain. After she came and went, another child came in and began discussing his day. Thereafter I noticed a trend. Because I was always in bed, my kids loved to come in and snuggle and talk to me. I began to really listen and appreciate how much they talked. I began to see ways in which I could help them from bed, and things I needed to help them work on. The Spirit whispered encouraging words as I began my new quest to truly know and understand my kids.

Years went by. After my oldest had flown the coop, the talking continued from afar. I guess they liked a listening ear. Once again, the Spirit whispered words that I will never forget. You wouldn’t have the relationship you have with your kids unless you had listened. And you wouldn’t have listened if you were so caught up in getting things done. They had turned out better because I had been sick! The Lord really does know what He’s doing.

I learned through my 10 years of sickness that doing is great, but becoming something the Lord wants us to be is even better. Helping our little ones become better people is one of the best things we can do in this life. Getting things done is important. But to BE like our Savior while doing them is imperative.

Now that I feel good again, I struggle to listen and have to remind myself of the lesson I learned. There will always be things to do, but there won’t always be children in the home. If I want them to talk to me later, I have to listen to them now.

Listening is only one of hundreds of characteristics we can develop to BE more like our Savior. What are some you have learned and how hard was the lesson to get you to listen?

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