Monday, February 28, 2011
Yesterday our sacrament meeting theme was charity, specifically President Monson's talk Charity Never Faileth from the last Relief Society broadcast. It struck me when I first heard it, and it was good to hear about it again. He really emphasizes not judging others in this talk, and as I listened to the speakers, I was mentally reviewing. I decided I was doing pretty well with not judging.
That was during sacrament meeting.
Fast forward to our bishop's youth discussion last night, where I was struck with a blow – I realized that I was not doing so well with not judging after all.
The bishop had invited a young-ish couple to speak to us. As soon as I saw them sitting there, the judgments started pouring out (only in my mind, thankfully, but still):
They are young and wealthy.
I wonder how they got so much money?
Their kids are always wearing new, cute clothes.
She always looks perfect.
How does she stay so thin?
She's kind of standoffish.
Then the bishop announced that he had asked them to talk about the importance of material things. Come again? I was squirming a bit.
She went on to tell us about the struggles they have been confronting during the last couple of years. He was a successful entrepreneur (ah, that's how they got all that money), but when the economy tanked he had to close down his business. They decided they would rather try to pay their creditors than declare bankruptcy. His employees were at least able to collect unemployment, but as the business owner, he had no such recourse.
She decided to sell whatever she could on eBay or ksl.com in order to generate some income. She sold the art she had been collecting for years. She sold their TVs, DVD players, furniture, clothing, anything that was not a permanent fixture. He would come home, look in his closet, and say, "hey, what happened to...?" and she would reply, "Well, you didn't wear it last week, so I sold it!"
She told us with tears in her eyes that as hard as it was to see all of their possessions going out the door, she was so very thankful that she learned what was truly essential to her: the relationships she has with her family. Now that their financial outlook is getting brighter, she said she is holding tightly to the lessons she learned during this long, difficult struggle and knows what it means to be thankful for trials.
He talked a bit about learning the value of money, putting in an honest day's work, and learning to live within your means. He challenged the youth to save towards their missions and education.
I feel like I was served, yet again, a big slice of humble pie.
It just goes to show me that everyone has their struggles, even when they are not visible to others. I have no right to be judging people, for any reason.
How I wish I could learn this lesson, once and for all!
p.s. For family home evening tonight, we talked about money management: the importance of paying tithing first, and we implemented a plan for the kids to put aside savings for missions/education. I passed out allowance for the month and they divvied up their money in different envelopes. (Eva was excited to join the ranks.)