20 Year Reunion - Jeffrey Holland

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I Ask You to be a Healer

I ask you to be a healer, be a helper, join in the work of Christ in lifting burdens, in making the load lighter, in making things better.

Lots of people on your right hand and on your left are carrying bumps and bruises which they hope will be healed. Someone you know is carrying a spiritual or physical or emotional burden of some sort, or some other affliction drawn from life's catalog of a thousand kinds of sorrow. ...Help people. Heal old wounds, and try to make things better.

In 1979 we held in St. George, Utah, our 20-year class reunion for Dixie High School. An effort was made to find current addresses for the entire class and get everyone to the reunion. In the midst of all that fun, I remember the painful letter written by one very bright—but in her childhood, somewhat overweight and less than popular—young woman who wrote:

"Congratulations to all of us for having survived long enough to have a 20-year class reunion. I hope everyone has a wonderful time. But don't reserve a place for me. I have, in fact, spent most of those 20 years trying to forget the painful moments of our school days together. Now that I am nearly over those feelings of loneliness and shattered self-esteem, I cannot bring myself to see all of the class and run the risk of remembering all of that again. Have a good time and forgive me. It is my problem, not yours. Maybe I can come at the 30-year mark."

But she was terribly wrong about one thing—it was our problem, and we knew it. I have wept for her and other friends like her in our youth. We simply were not the Savior's agents or disciples that he intended a group of young people to be.

I cannot help but wonder what I might have done to watch out a little more for the ones not included, to make sure the gesture of a friendly word or a listening ear or a little casual talk and shared time might have reached far enough to include those hanging on the outer edge of the social circle, and in some cases barely hanging on at all.

Jesus said in the culmination of his most remarkable sermon ever, "If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matt. 5:46-47).

It is with some apostolic sorrow that I acknowledge I have never known what it is like not to have a date when everyone else had one, nor to be painfully shy, nor to be chosen last for basketball, nor to be truly poor, nor to face the memories and emotions of a broken home—nor any one of a hundred other things I know many have had to contend with in the past or are contending with right now.

In acknowledging that, I make an appeal for us to reach beyond our own contentment, move out of our own comfort zone, to reach those who may not always be so easy to reach.

Excerpt from The New Era, Dec. 1997, p. 7-8. Adapted from a Church Education System fireside address March 2, 1997