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Book excerpt: 'A Sisterhood of Strength' shares stories of service

By Diony George

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from "A Sisterhood of Strength: True Stories of Miraculous Service," compilation of nearly three dozen short experiences that share how unexpected, and many times small, service opportunities were able to help someone else.

I hardly noticed the sun was shining in the sky that day, even as its bright rays came blindingly through my kitchen window. My marriage was ending. My husband, who had become a stranger, moved out a few days before. I was lonely and discouraged.

My younger children woke up from their naps, and my 3-year-old immediately wanted to go outside. His two older brothers were already out, but I wasn’t in the mood to listen to complaining if I asked them to watch him.

I changed the baby’s diaper and picked him up. My toddler eagerly headed for the door. I reminded him of his boundaries before he hurried off to play. I sat down on the front steps to watch and put the baby on my lap. After several minutes, I stood up to stretch my legs and walked to the end of the driveway to check the mailbox.

Joan lived across the street and had been part of the neighborhood for about as long as my family had. Whenever we saw each other, we’d call out a polite “hello” or “how are you today?” Sometimes we just waved. Her family seemed like perfectly nice people. There wasn’t a specific reason we didn’t know each other better — we were just busily going about our own lives.

Joan saw me getting the mail and came over, starting the longest conversation we’d ever had up to then by commenting on how much my baby had grown. We talked for a good 15 minutes until my toddler interrupted. He needed to use the bathroom. I gave Joan a hurried good-bye and took him quickly in the house.

After cleaning up a wet pair of underpants and encouraging my son to keep trying, the baby was hungry. I nursed him, and then it was time to start dinner.

During the next couple of days, Joan and I talked a lot. She was warm, and I felt more comfortable around her than I expected. We became fast friends — I felt a deep connection to her. I already had incredible support from my extended family and many friends, but Joan started filling an unconscious void I was carrying inside.

She was married, about my age and had three children. She wasn’t a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but she was a dedicated Christian, a wife, and a mother who loved the Lord. For the next several weeks, she spent time with me almost every day or we talked on the phone.

Joan’s love and unexpected friendship made a big difference in helping me get through that extremely lonely and difficult time of my life. I’m sad to say that when I moved from the area we ended up losing touch.

As I’ve thought about her over the years with gratitude and fondness, I’ve come to believe Joan was an “angel-sister” placed in my life by the Lord at the specific time I needed her.

— Diony George

Diony Goerge compiled the stories in "A Sisterhood of Strength: True Stories of Miraculous Service," published by Cedar Fort. She blogs at diony-george.blogspot.com.

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