All summer Kaya has had a wiggly tooth and she’s been too scared to pull it out. It’s been holding on for dear life, while dangling awkwardly from her gums. On Sunday all that changed.
“Mama, my tooth hurts really bad,” Kaya complains as we walk through the garage door into our home after church on Sunday.
“I just want it to come out already…but I don’t want it to bleed…and I don’t want it to hurt.”
“I doubt that thing will hurt to pull out,” I reply to her protests.
“It’s barely hanging on…why don’t you let Mom pull it out.”
“No!” Kaya instantly responds, “no, no, no.”
“What if I give you $100,” I tease “then will you let me pull it out??”
“It’s getting kind of hard to look at,” I say cringing.
“No, not even for $100,” Kaya replies stubbornly.
“Wow, not even for $100!”
“Well I see you have your priorities straight,” I laugh.
For the next ten minutes Kaya sits at the kitchen table in tears because she wants her tooth out…
But she doesn’t want anyone to pull it out…she just wants it to fall out on its own. She doesn’t want it to bleed…and it most definitely cannot hurt.
“I don’t want to lose any more teeth!” she sobs.
“I like all of my baby teeth!”
I run my hands through my hair because moms can only take so much whining…
I grit my teeth…pick Kaya up… tears and all…place her on the ground and sit on her…
We are getting this tooth out!
Kaya clamps her mouth shut.
“Open up your mouth Kaya,” I say in frustration.
“Uh-huh,” Kaya responds with closed lips.
Eventually…in between complaints…she opens her mouth…just for a few seconds… and that’s when I sweep in and yank that stubborn little tooth out. And just as I had suspected…it comes out effortlessly.
I hop up with a big smile on my face. Success. Kaya runs into the kitchen in tears….
“I can’t believe you sat on me!” she says angrily.
“Well it was for your own good,” I reply, trying not to laugh at her upset expression.
I pick her back up and look into those big beautiful brown eyes. I wipe the tears from off her cheeks, then hold her in my arms until she quiets down…which doesn’t take long.
“Hey…my tooth is gone!” she suddenly says happily, “that didn’t even hurt!”
I hold up the tiny tooth for her to see and she quickly grabs it out of my hand.
“Ooo I wonder what the tooth fairy is going to bring?” she contemplates, “maybe $100!”
I’ve been thinking about this story for the last few days…and have been trying to somehow relate it to life. I believe that there is so much to be learned and gained from the different experiences in life…
After some reflection this is what I’ve discovered…
This month has been filled with different emotions. Just over one year ago, on August 23rd we lost our sweet angels. Since that time, I’ve felt very deep sorrow, immense joy, frustration, inadequacy, and excitement…just to name a few. Yet, over this last month I have been reminded (again) of the goodness of others. I have seen what one person’s goodness can do and how far it can go. Our family has been showered in love, kindness, prayers, and support since the moment the accident happened.
Fast forward a year later… and we are still being showered with goodness.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the twelve apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, taught this about our combined efforts to be anxiously engaged in a good cause,
“Honeybees are driven to pollinate, gather nectar, and condense the nectar into honey. It is their magnificent obsession imprinted into their genetic makeup by our Creator. It is estimated that to produce just one pound (0.45 kg) of honey, the average hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of two times around the world. Over its short lifetime of just a few weeks to four months, a single honeybee’s contribution of honey to its hive is a mere one-twelfth of one teaspoon.
Though seemingly insignificant when compared to the total, each bee’s one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey is vital to the life of the hive. The bees depend on each other. Work that would be overwhelming for a few bees to do becomes lighter because all of the bees faithfully do their part.”
Elder Ballard goes on to say,
“Brigham Young chose the beehive as a symbol to encourage and inspire the cooperative energy necessary among the pioneers to transform the barren desert wasteland surrounding the Great Salt Lake into the fertile valleys we have today. We are the beneficiaries of their collective vision and industry.
The beehive symbol is found in both the interiors and exteriors of many of our temples. This podium where I stand is made from the wood of a walnut tree grown in President Gordon B. Hinckley’s backyard and is adorned with carved beehive images.
All of this symbolism attests to one fact: great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27). Imagine what the millions of Latter-day Saints could accomplish in the world if we functioned like a beehive in our focused, concentrated commitment to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Savior taught that the first and great commandment is:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37, 39–40).
The Savior’s words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us—our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens.”
Just like the honeybees…sometimes we may feel like our good efforts go unnoticed. Or like Kaya’s fear of pulling her tooth…we might be afraid to get to know someone new. Often times we talk ourselves out of having courage for fear of what others might think or say. I know it can be hard to talk to the new family in the neighborhood or reach out to someone in need. It can be hard to step out of our comfort zone and come to the rescue of someone spiritually or mentally drowning. We may be unsure of our abilities and worried that by taking a leap of faith we may get ‘hurt’ or ‘bleed’ in the process.
But guess what? Sometimes it’s ok to hurt and bleed. When we are anxiously engaged in serving and loving others, the Lord will provide a way for us to be strengthened and directed too. He will lead us to opportunities where we can find peace, joy, and happiness.
I know that one good deed leads to another. I also know how wonderful it feels to serve and be served. We have felt the goodness of others this past year in remarkable ways. We have been blessed beyond measure for the goodness of others too.
So what does this all mean?
Basically…it means to be the good in the world. Choose to be a light. Choose service. There are so many ways for us to lose our way and be distracted by the hate and envy of others. Each of us individually can make a difference, though sometimes seemingly insignificant. But I know that when we combine our efforts and choose to love others like the Savior, “the work that would be overwhelming for a few bees… becomes lighter…all because of bees that faithfully do their part.”
Also If you have some wiggly teeth needing to be pulled…have a little courage…once they’re out…it feels pretty good. ‘Bee’ brave. It’s ok if it hurts and bleeds a little. ‘Bee’ the good in the world.