The world we live in today is filled with chaos, sorrow, tumult, doubt, distractions, and negativity. We are bombarded with this everywhere we turn. We see chaos and tumult as we read the news, we hear doubt and negativity as we look on social media, and we experience sorrow and distractions in our very own lives. Many of us who are journeying through these troubling times may often wonder, as the hymn says, “where can I turn for peace?”
There are times in our lives where we will seek for an answer to this question, where we will long for peace as we face difficult times. We can find the peace we seek.
Story of Compassion
As I thought about each of these principles and the people in my life who exemplify these principles, many people came to my mind, but there was one person and experience that stood out to me. Today I would like to share an amazing story of compassion about one of the most amazing men in my life, my Grandfather.
My Grandfather (aka PaPa Shimp) might have intimidated some because of his large stature, but he was kind and friendly to everyone he met. My Grandfather passed away in 2001, and it was right before he passed away that my Mother shared an experience with him. As my Grandfather lay in the hospital bed, reflecting on his life, feeling like he wasn’t a great husband, father, or man, my Mother shared her experience to let him know just what an amazing man he was, and if it weren’t for him something very serious could have happened to her.
My Mother’s story happened during the early 1970’s, a time when people were still angry and unkind to others of different religions, races, and cultures. My Grandparents and their family had moved from New York, and were living in Florida.
One day my Mother and her friend (who were around the age of 10) went out to ride their bikes. They hadn’t paid attention where they were riding, and before they knew it, they were in an unfamiliar part of town. As they rode down the street, they saw a group of young men up ahead. As they got near the young men, the young men stood across the road blocking them from passing. My Mother and her friend, stopped their bikes, and the men encircled them.
My Mother and her friend were terrified, but tried to stay calm. The ‘leader’ of the group came up to my Mother and stroked her head, and said, “Well, what do we have here? Two pretty little girls.” The boys continued to tease and taunt my Mother and her friend, and then the ‘leader’ asked if my Mother had ever been kissed, and kissed her. My Mother by now had become very frightened, how were they going to get out of this situation?
The leader then asked what their names were. My Mother replied with a tremble in her voice, “Shelly Shimp”. As soon as my Mother spoke her name, the young man’s face changed. He asked my Mother, “Does your father drive a blue Studebaker station wagon?” My Mother replied that he did.
This young man worked at a service station as a gas attendant. He told my Mother that her Father, my Grandfather, was the kindest man he’d ever met. He told her that every time he came into the station he always got out of his car and talked with him. He told my Mother that her Father treated him like a human being.
This young man then told my Mother and her friend to get on their bikes and ride home as fast as they could, and to never tell anyone what happened. He told them to NEVER come back to this part of town, because next time he would not be able to protect them.
My Mother never did tell anyone what happened that day, and every time she went with her Father to fill up the Studebaker with gas, she would see the young man. It wasn’t until my Grandfather was ready to return to his Father in Heaven that my Mother finally told him the story, and that it was because of his compassion and love for his fellow men that nothing serious happened that day.
My Mother also shared this story at my Grandfather’s funeral, and it is a story that I reflect on frequently. It is a story that I try to apply to my life. Our world needs more compassion and love, and it needs to begin with us. As we strive to love others, we will feel the love of Christ in our own lives, and we begin to see a change in our lives.
My Grandfather and Grandmother have truly lived the principle of compassion as they have learned and followed the Savior’s example. Because of their love and compassion and their great example, I see that same love and compassion in their children, my Mother and Uncles, and I can also see it in my own life as I strive to follow their example and love others.
How You Can Share Peace
As I said at the beginning on my post, there are many who are searching for peace. We as members of the church can share our knowledge of how to find peace through Jesus Christ, and the upcoming Easter Prince of Peace Campaign is a great opportunity to share that knowledge.