From the 16--Church News - week ending May 21, 1988:
Several years ago a volunteer worker at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City shared a true experience with her associates at a devotional meeting. It is a story worth re-telling in her own words:
"A few years ago while on a trip our family stopped in a small town to visit a friend we had not seen for a long time. As we drove up in front of her home, she was just going out of her gate.
the first thing we noticed about her was that she had two bananas in her hand. We got out of the car and chatted with her for a moment. When I asked her where she was going with two bananas she explained that she had made a fruit salad the day before and had borrowed two bananas from her neighbor and was now on her way to return them. She said she would wait and return them after we left so she could visit with us.
As that point, my 6-year-old son said he would be glad to return the bananas. He said he ran errands all the time for me, and would be happy to explain who the bananas came from. My friend was impressed by his eagerness, so she gave him the bananas, pointed out the house, and off he went across the street.
We were in the house visiting when my son came bounding in, and with excitement said to my friend, 'Hey, that guy said to tell you thanks a lot. He loves bananas.'
My friend looked puzzled, and said 'He? My friend is a widow and has no husband.' She thought for a moment and then said, 'Oh, I'll bet it was one of her sons. They come to see her often.'
I thought my little boy might have gone to the wrong house, so I asked him to come outside and point out the house where he had taken the bananas. He said he had taken them to the white house with a bush in front of the window.
My friend became rather upset, saying that of all the houses on her street that was the last one she would take anything to. The man who lived there was very repulsive. No one could stand him. His wife and family had left him, and he had lost his job. The only person who ever came to see him was his daughter, and she only came to see him because she felt sorry for him, not because she loved him.
As we walked back into the house, listening to her tell about the man, it seemed to me that he had no redeeming qualities at all. I wondered to myself what he must have thought about suddenly getting two bananas.
We continued to visit when my little boy looked out the window and said to my friend, 'You know that guy I took the bananas to, well, he's coming through your gate right now.'
My friend was uttering a few inaudible words when the knock came at the door. She opened the door, and her neighbor stood before her, tears in his eyes, finding it difficult to express himself. He finally was able to thank her for the two bananas, and said he was glad that someone cared enough to think of him. He thought no one even cared about him anymore. He handed her a sack of freshly picked vegetables from his garden and some plums from his tree. He told her that he had not been a good neighbor, but from now on he would try to be better.
About two years later we again dropped by to visit our friend. We told her we couldn't stay long because it was late in the day and we wanted to set up camp before dark.
My friend begged us to stay and meet her home teacher who was coming by that evening. She said she had the greatest home teacher. 'You remember that man your little boy took the bananas to? Well he's my home teacher now and I have never had a better one. The whole direction of his life changed when he thought someone cared about him.
She went on to explain that he had gotten his job back, his wife and family had come back to him, and everyone in the neighborhood liked him. She said she wished he could always be her home teacher, but she was afraid he would be released because two weeks ago he had been sustained as a counselor in the bishopric of their ward.
This touching story reminds us as we keep the second great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves that even small deeds can produce great results. Even two bananas!"
I was moved by this story. I was moved the the little six year old that was taught to volenteer service at such a young age. I was moved by what love can do.
My dad and then Wendy stressed again yesterday at our event the need to see someone for who they can become. When we believe in someone, miracles happen.
I sure felt this way with Brother Madsen. He saw in me things that I surely was not yet, but he never stopped telling me that I was already them. So much that I wanted to change my life to become the things he said I already had/was.
The power of believing in others. For seeing their good and focusing on that.
Love is beautiful! Belief in someone and seeing them for the child of God they are, is beautiful.