There is a story, of a grand piano that needed to be moved in a German church many years ago. The community of church members were not skilled professional movers, only volunteers working together. Because of the size of the piano, the job required a carefully orchestrated plan using their strength and coordination. They tried several different techniques, but each resulted in making the piano unstable and it remained immovable.
As they stood around the piano trying to determine the next tactic, one man suggested they stand close together and then lift where they stood.
The solution seemed too simple to work, but they gave it a try, and to their astonishment they found success! The profound truth to their quandary was to lift where they stood.
While reading my scriptures this last year I’ve made a note of verbs calling me to action. Words I have repeatedly given this special blue mark are: seek, look, remember, run, walk, work, write and stand.
Have you ever thought about the word stand? It is different from the other verbs because it implies a stationary action or what would seem a lack of action. In looking at several definitions, stand can be defined as firm, steady, steadfast, consistent, endure, and a defensive effort.
I’m reminded of the old 80’s song “Stand” by REM. When it was popular I never actually analyzed its meaning, but in thinking about standing, I couldn’t help but look into the intended idea behind the song. Band member Michael Stipe said of the lyrics, “It’s about making decisions and actually living your life rather than letting it happen.”
Stand in the place where you live
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand in the place where you work
As I started thinking about the places we stand in our lives, and with a little bit of help from REM, I realized in all the various roles of our life we have opportunities to stand – to make decisions about how we live our lives and how we will make a difference to those around us.
Stand at home
We are responsible for the environment we create within our home. The way we stand at home sets the tone. Do we focus on being positive and building each other, or do we dwell on the flaws of family members and let them fester with annoyance?
Our homes should be a place of refuge from the world, and families are the support system to help us make it through life. Learning to make a difference in our homes and families requires practice and intentionally driven responses. How do you stand at home?
Stand at work or school
When thinking about who we spend our time with, the people we are surrounded by at work or school falls right behind our family. We may not be working our dream job, or maybe our classes are not fulfilling, but there are still ways to lift those around you and make a difference. Perhaps it is being kind to the grumpy office curmudgeon or a difficult school group member. Look for simple actions to make a difference.
Stand in community
Sometimes we feel so removed from our community it seems unimportant to stand and make a difference.
I served on our community HOA for six years. It was eye opening to learn and how hard it is to get volunteers. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with what we are already doing, and to think about adding another “thing” to our lives may seem like too much, so keep it simple.
Even if you don’t have time to get out and stand in your community take a minute to thank those that do. For ideas on how to stand in your community check out JustServe.org. It is a volunteer website where service opportunities are posted regularly based on location.
Stand at church
Why would it be important to stand at church? I believe it sends a message as to where our heart is.
Mosiah 5:13 says: “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” The way we choose to stand at church is a direct reflection of our heart.
I’m asked quite often how I can give so much to my church. Neal A. Maxwell poetically describes my feelings.
“The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give” are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!” – Neal A. Maxwell
Think about direction
Have you ever thought about which direction you face? Not physically, but your character – the person you are deep down inside.
Are you more likely to help the needy, or turn away and find an excuse? When we dig deep, do we see a selfish person cowering to do just the minimum, or do we see one who wants to stand doing what is right and good, striving to make a difference?
The key about direction
It doesn’t matter what your roles or responsibilities are in life we can all learn to love where we stand – even if it is less than perfect – our ability to make a difference will be increased. Love is an interesting connection I’ve made about standing – loving others, God, and ourselves. The scriptures call it charity, I consider it the greatest of all virtues. My all time favorite definition of charity was given by Marvin J. Ashton.
“Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.
Real charity is not something you give away; it is something you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.
Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other,when we don’t judge or categorize someone else when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” – Marvin J. Ashton
We’ve come to affectionately call the voice within the GPS Lola. She is great at letting us know when we are off course. Her gentle “recalculating” helps us make adjustments and get back on track.
Similarly, there may be a voice deep inside gently reminding us of how we can get back on course. We all get distracted and a detour is not uncommon. I do not mean to make anyone feel discouraged or guilty. This accomplishes nothing. But take some time to evaluate where you stand, and if it is the way you want to be standing. If not – adjust and recalculate and then make a course correction.
Together we can accomplish so much more than any one of us can do alone. Remember the piano moving crew in the church in Germany. When we stand close together and lift where we stand, we will be able to move mountains.
- Ashton, Marvin J. (2017) Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/the-tongue-can-be-a-sharp-sword?lang=eng
- Just Serve. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.justserve.org/
- lds.org (2017) Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/5.13?lang=eng#12
- Maxwell, Neal A. (2017) Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/swallowed-up-in-the-will-of-the-father?lang=eng
- Q Magazine. (2017) Retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1743
- Utchdorf, Dieter F. (2017) Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/lift-where-you-stand?lang=eng