President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared a message during the Christmas devotional a few weeks ago titled “Scatter Your Crumbs.”
One phrase, in particular, stood out to me as I reread his talk after the devotional a few days later: “Even if all we have is a handful of crumbs, we gladly share them with those in emotional, spiritual or temporal need as an expression of our gratitude for the divine feast God has prepared for us.”
Recently, we were up at Grandma Gary and Grammy’s “mansion” — the governor’s mansion — for a Christmas party. It was the second time we had been up there that week and the third that month, and my boys were beginning to feel a little too comfortable running the halls and jumping on No. 1’s bed.
Toward the end of the evening, after they had drunk half of the supply of the chocolate fountain, we made our way downstairs to get our picture taken and to say goodbye before we drove to Temple Square to see the lights.
Right after we took the picture, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, walked in. He made his way toward us, shook our hands and gave my boys fist bumps, and I wondered if they had any idea how lucky they were.
I struggled to keep my 2-year-old on my hip while simultaneously keeping an eye on my two oldest, who were now playing human Pong with their younger brother.
His April 2017 general conference talk, “My Peace I Leave With You,” has really resonated with me.
He shares the experience of his son jumping on the bed when he was a young father, and as he grabbed his son by the shoulders to get him to stop, the impression he received from the Spirit was "You are holding a great person."
Contemplating an apostle's words, I shooed my boys to the basement and told them I would be back with their snow clothes.
Well, not two minutes later I was getting a giant pile of jackets, mittens, hats and boots down the stairs when my third oldest ran up to me and said, “There’s something accidentally broken down here.”
I hurried into the newly renovated basement to find a very large, very heavy, very expensive lamp in pieces on the floor next to an upturned table.
“What happened?” I asked in shock.
“Carmen,” I turned to see Carolynne, the governor’s mansion manager, coming to stand beside me. “Listen, this is not a big deal.”
“Of course it is!” I said.
“No,” she said. “I hear stories every day about people struggling with all sorts of hard things. Some things are really big deals. A broken lamp is not. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”
I thought a lot about what she said as we walked around Temple Square that night. What can I do to help my little boys turn into great men? How can I show Heavenly Father my gratitude, even when little things seem like big deals? What “crumbs” do I have to offer my family?
The symbolic loaf of “me” bread I have to give at the beginning of every day is all but gone by nighttime. I give a piece of myself to each of my boys, to my husband, to my friends and neighbors, to personal goals, to daily tasks, and when my someone asks me to lay beside them as I try to say goodnight, I feel like all I have to offer is one minute. One tiny crumb of myself.
I spend most of my day trying to get rid of the real crumbs, the ones that make my house look dirty and unkept. The ones that make me look like I’m not doing a very good job.
But in reality, those crumbs symbolize a day spent serving my boys. I get to clean up crumbs because I get to have a family. I get to sweep up broken lamp pieces because I get to have these great little men.
And as messy as it is, these broken pieces of my life are proof that I am doing the best I can and giving every last part of myself. They are proof I have feasted well for another day with the thing that matters most: my family.