This story is not new and many have heard it before, but it is one of my favorites and is worth repeating.  I copy these few paragraphs from Confronting the Myth of Self Esteem by Ester Rasband, p. 57-58:

“A young man died, and upon arrival at the Pearly Gates was treated to a tour of heaven and hell before his final assignment.  Hell was first, and he was surprised to find it a room of lavish banquet tables, laden with wonderful things to eat.  The people there, however, were emaciated and crying out in hunger.  The only way to gain access to the food was with extremely long-handled spoons permanently attached to their hands.  When they tried to put the spoons to their mouths, they found it impossible to reach.  So the residents of this home of the damned cried out in anguish as well as hunger.  The young man on the tour averted his eyes in horror.  To see these people starving in the midst of plenty was more than he could bear.  He begged to be taken away from this place.

Imagine the young man’s surprise on arrival in heaven when he saw identical tables and identical food.  The people here, however, were well fed and happy.  There was laughter and music and delight.  At first the young man thought that the access to the food must be easier.  Then he saw it.  The food had to be eaten with the same long-handled spoons.  The people in heaven, however, had discovered that the long-handled spoons worked very well to feed the food to each other.”

My tendency, and I believe this is typical, is to be mainly self-absorbed.  I do a lot for others, especially my family, but my motives are often less than pure.  Consequently, with thoughts centered mainly on myself, I am generally not as happy as I could be.  Rasband’s concluding words prescribe the cure:

“If you feel hungry for love, grab hold of a long-handled spoon and feed love to others.  Miraculously, you will begin to feel love coming directly from your Father in Heaven, which is the purest sort.  His long-handled spoon will reach out to you.  Lehi said that the love of God was the whitest and the purest and the most delicious of fruits.  He said also that you reach it by hanging onto an iron rod.  That iron rod is the word of God.  The tree is always there, always available, but we cannot find it without the directions found in the word of God, and those directions tell us to feed others, to lose ourselves, abase ourselves, humble ourselves.  Love is what makes it possible.”

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