We cannot say, “I have no need of you”

[ 10 ] Comments

by Michaela

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (1 Cor. 12:21-22)

Sgt. Jerrod Fields
without a foot
familymwr (CC)

I’m glad Paul took the trouble to explain this because when I remember it, it helps me consider my own ignorance about my fellow Saints.

I recall in my previous ward there was an aged sister and her husband who, when they were called on in church classes, tended to make comments unrelated or only tangentially associated with the topic of discussion.  The husband in particular seemed to like bringing up screwy quotations by Brigham Young in a way that often subverted rather than supported the points the teacher was trying to make.  I remember this brother bearing testimony on three separate fast Sundays that the Savior fell down three times in the garden of Gethsemane.  He placed a special emphasis on the falls and the number of falls that I couldn’t understand. (Even more puzzling was that it never says in scripture that Christ fell three times.)  His wife would bear emotional testimony in a wandering sort of way, working in her profound grief over her grandchildren living half the world away from her.  As a writer interested in skillful crafting of prose, I was often embarrassed for them.  Sometimes I had to stop listening, but other times I just tried to understand the feeling they were trying to express.  Later, much became clear to me when this sister was put in a nursing home with dementia because her husband was too feeble and fall-prone to take care of her himself.

I think of this couple when I read the above verses, and I’ve often pondered in what way they were necessary to our ward if their discourse wasn’t linear or profound.

A Woman's Face in B&W - The Beauty of a Good, Lived Life / Thailand   (integrity intact)

Ronn aka “Blue” Aldaman (CC)

Eventually I realized that they set a great example of love of family and love of the gospel, especially in old age.  They presented a stalwart picture of what it means to endure to the end.  Even as her mental faculties degenerated, her commitment shone through.  Even as his legs weakened and his balance wavered, his dedication was rock solid.  Their testimonies might wander or seem impenetrable, but they still felt and recognized the Spirit, then stood to bear witness in the best way they could.  Not only that, their weaknesses became an opportunity for our ward to be charitable, to be saintly, to bear with them.  I didn’t hear anyone express scorn, unkindness, or impatience toward them, not even raillery, whether public or private.  This couple was treated with respect and love just like everybody else.  We were all made better people because they were with us.

If, say, the hand ever says to the foot, “I have no need of thee,” I conclude that the hand doesn’t know what pressure and difficulty the foot labors under.  Neither does the hand recognize what the foot can do and does do for the hand.

  • How about you?
  • When have you as a “head” or “eye” learned you needed the “hand” or “foot”?

About Michaela

Michaela (Scriptorium Blogorium) is a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool BYU Cougar who just happened to finish her degree at Arizona State University in Literature, Writing, and Film. She loves reading, writing, studying the scriptures, singing with the primary kids as chorister, helping people organize and de-clutter their stuff, and generally exuding enthusiasm for the simple pleasures and victories of life. She’s an honorary member of the elder’s quorum moving company and aspires to become many things, one of which is a good cook. She blogs at Scriptorium Blogorium and a few other places too..

10 Responses to We cannot say, “I have no need of you”

  1. Bonnie says:

    This makes me miss AnnaMae. She died at 96 and to within months of her death she would speak up in long, drawn-out discussions of stories she’d told many times, every single class or testimony meeting. We smiled at one another when she spoke because we could imagine the life she was painting – it was real to us, as a life any one of us could look back on in just a few short years. At one time I would have felt impatient with that wandering, but this ward has taught me to be accepting and thoughtful, this ward full of kind, ordinary souls who mow each other’s lawns and care for the infirm. The white-haired row in RS, from which emanate some of the funniest things said in stage whispers right in the middle of the lesson, has not been the same since she left us. Man, I love all our parts.

  2. I think sometimes we fall into the trap of wanting people to say the right things, when what we need is mostly just to have them around us.

    Great post.

  3. Lisa S says:

    I saw a quote somewhere…probably on Facebook that says,” Listen to understand, and not to reply.” If more people would do this then they would be avoiding worrying whether or not the person is testifying of the right things. 🙂

  4. Cheryl says:

    I needed to hear this. Thank you! Sincerely.

  5. Ray says:

    Wonderful thoughts, Michaela.

    I might not always appreciate every instrument (like the kazoos or the trumpets, for me), but when I step back and let the full sound wash over me it really can be glorious and sanctifying. Also, sometimes, that part that sounds crazy in isolation adds a critical piece to the symphony when all the other instruments play in such a way that the otherwise crazy part suddenly makes sense.

  6. Hope says:

    Thank you for sharing. So often I think I am listening to someone when I am actually critiquing them instead. If I remember to listen to the Spirit, and let it help me understand the intent of the speaker, it helps so much more. We all can learn from every single other person in our lives if we only allow it.

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