stand at the door and knock

It was one of those days. I was in my pajamas at noon and there was a knock at the door. I looked around at the clutter and thought, “Good grief, maybe I’ll just pretend I’m not home.” But my four-year old scampered past me and threw the door open wide.

There stood my neighbor Joyce, a big smile on her face. Immediately I was put at ease. I knew she was not there to judge my apparel or the state of my home. Rather she had come to give me a hug and a bag of apples she had picked from her tree.

This eighty-three year old woman has checked in on me periodically for several years, always bearing homegrown produce and words of encouragement.

“You’re a good mom!”

“What sweet kids you have!”

“I just love your family!”

She always knows what to say to an overwhelmed mom of eight. And, as a side note, her raspberry jam is the best I have ever tasted.

I have wondered how this angelic woman finds time and energy for me. She and her husband are constantly on the go with a huge posterity to cheer on at baseball games, dance recitals and school programs. Yet somehow they manage to tend to a large garden with raspberry bushes and fruit trees that yield far more than they can eat. And somehow they find time to knock on my door, surplus produce in hand, just when I need a visit.

The world we live in is fast-paced and competitive—so much to do, so little time. But Joyce doesn’t even notice. She just knows what is really important and doesn’t spend her time or energy on anything that isn’t. Her example reaffirms to me that pursuing human interaction with the intent to uplift and bless is among the most valuable things we can do with our time.

Christ unfolded this principle to the “careful and troubled” Martha. He showed her that while work and service are admirable, there is something even more “needful”—human connection—talking, listening, being together. In truth, service without this connection is hollow. It may provide for the needs of the body, but it leaves the soul wanting.

Christ taught us by His example to focus our energy on individuals we can uplift and bless rather than on tasks we can check off our to-do list. Consider the way he ministered to people one by one, the way he sought opportunities to heal and bless, the way he spent time walking and talking, the way he was never in a hurry. His ministry was not about accomplishing tasks, but about connecting with people face to face, heart to heart.

Christ continues his ministry today. He seeks to connect with us individually and he doesn’t use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Rather, like Joyce, he stands at the door and knocks (Rev. 3:20). We matter that much to him!

As in all things, the Savior invites us to follow his example. I can imagine someday standing in his presence to answer the question, “Whose door did you knock on in my name?” I hope, like Joyce, I’ll be able to answer that many people were blessed because I made the time to visit.

One thing is needful

Shawna Morrissey
Shawna Morrissey earned her Master’s degree in the study of History. Since that time her heart has been devoted to the development of future generations. Her husband and 8 children will tell you that she gets excited about absolutely everything! Shawna often leaves the dirty dishes in the sink so that she has time to ponder and to write. In addition, she runs marathons, climbs mountains, instructs at an annual leadership course and speaks to youth groups about the value and adventure of lifelong learning.
Shawna Morrissey
Shawna Morrissey

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