2020-2021 Season,  Everyone

Practicing Small Kindnesses

by Lillian Bills, dramaturg

The final line of Everyone reads, “You may go before you have ten candles on your cake or you may go after you have one hundred, just remember that no matter the time or place, you’ll be alright if you learned to love.”

As a team, we decided that we wanted to practice what we are teaching. Every week, I gave a little Charity Challenge that encouraged us to practice small kindnesses. Below are some of our experiences.

Megan Sanborn Jones (Director)

I have a really rare blood type that only shows up in about 2% of the population and is the only kind of blood that can be used for premature and newborn babies.  As a result, my blood is in very high demand.  When I started thinking about small kindnesses and little ways one can make the world a better place, I realized that I already had in me something I could easily give to others.  At the beginning of our production, I committed to becoming a regular blood donor—every eight weeks—to help those that can’t help themselves.  In that time, I’ve donated blood three times and have already set my next appointment.

Image courtesy of Megan Sanborn Jones

Bronwyn Reed (Messenger)

I am a gift-giver at heart. I definitely give my love through gifts. I was feeling like I wanted to give someone something special that felt like it had a piece of my soul in it. Sage and I had gone to Salt Lake City and we went to one of our favorite stores called Dancing Cranes. They had run out of incense holders and she really wanted to buy one. So I went to my dad’s shop and got to work. I grabbed a piece of cedarwood and had my dad teach me how to use each tool that would help me make the incense holder.  I worked on it for like 3 days straight and I was so unbelievably excited. She was so happy when I gave it to her. My favorite part of doing acts of service is knowing that it makes the other person feel loved and SEEN. I have been seen too. My friend Mckay knew that I was having a hard day and he called me and asked me what I wanted from Chick-fil-A. It seemed so small but he made me feel seen. Like even though I felt alone he made sure that I wasn’t. And that is one of the most important things I think of when I think of charity. Making people feel loved and seen even if they don’t know who is doing it.

Sage Patchin (Death)

These past couple of months I’ve been working on small things with people within my reach.

I’ve been doing the dishes for my roommates the last few weeks. I’ve scheduled time in the week to help my little sister with her communications homework so she will pass the class. I made dinner for my friend Bronwyn the other day. I drove my friend home when she wasn’t feeling good.

A Chaplain at BYU performed an amazing act of kindness for me just yesterday. I had an ecclesiastical endorsement meeting with him and we got to talking about what this year and semester has been like. He took a real interest in my workload and well-being. He found out that I hadn’t been taking the time to eat very much because of my schedule and that I have been struggling to pay rent. He had me stop into his office before it closed. I walked in and he walked me over to a couch that had a huge cardboard box full of groceries there for me. I was absolutely shocked. He said, “I hope this will lighten your load this month. And if you are ever having trouble again I want you to give me a call.” I had trouble carrying it out to my car it was so full of good food. I’ve really struggled at BYU and I usually keep my head down and try to fly under the radar. Yesterday, I was reminded of the love and grace to be found on this campus. There are good people everywhere! You never know who is struggling and could use a helping hand. I have loved this show and I’m appreciative of what it has taught me about charity

Camden Wawro (Knowledge)

One thing that I did was write letters to all of my roommates for Valentine’s Day. I thought about just getting them some candy, but then I had the idea of writing a handwritten note for each of them. Writing out the reasons I was grateful for each of them was a great exercise in seeing them in a Christlike way. It deepened my love for them and it made them happy!

Darci Ramirez (Charity)

My cousin goes to the same university as I do, and our abuelita recently moved in with my father (my cousin’s uncle) just a thirty-minute drive away from us. Abuelita basically raised my cousin, and it was wonderful to have the ability to have those two near each other, especially during such a formative time. However, when COVID-19 began to spread, it was simply too dangerous to have us over, and my cousin and Abuelita ended up not seeing each other for months. When my abuelita was vaccinated however, it became a little safer for us — especially my cousin — to visit. When I heard the news that it was safe for us to come over, I offered to drive my cousin home and arrange a visit. She accepted, and my grandmother and cousin had their first meeting after months apart. It made me feel like I was acting as some kind of connective tissue. And being able to help bring together people who haven’t been able to be together made me feel like I was serving a simple, but important, purpose for my family.

Elizabeth Gibson (Riches/Wit)

1) Checking in daily with a friend who is marooned at home recuperating from surgery
2) Weekly Zoom meeting with others for a disabled sister in my former ward
3) Spending prayer time on challenged friends and family
4) Surprising the son with treats while he works remotely from home
5) Buying candy bars for my husband to take over to a neighbor who is depressed over social isolation from COVID restrictions.

It’s easy during a pandemic to feel isolated and self-focused, because of all the time spent at home and away from others.  Serving now more than ever, connects me to other people and gets me out of my head.  It adds to my happiness tremendously to feel like, with the Lord’s help, I have the ability to make a difference in the lives of other people.

Nahee Choi (Kin/Senses)

Acts of Charity:
– Called my grandma and sang for her
– Stayed up talking with a friend who needed someone to talk to
– Sent a scripture to my sister on her mission and an encouraging message
– Messaged my mission companions

I have been trying to make time for people and spend one on one time with them. I felt like I always got caught up with my busy schedule and neglected how important it is to be present with people and to express my love for them. I tried to talk with my youngest sister about her day after school, I made an effort to contact someone that I felt I should meet once a day. What amazed me about this experience was that not only did I learn to love and empathize with others better, I relearned how to BE loved. I was overwhelmed by the love that was returned to me as I tried to show it.

Savannah Fillerup (Friend/Beauty)

Over the course of this show, I have been able to take some time to really notice the significance of the small kindnesses. I’ve recently returned from my mission which was an incredible experience and an example of huge sacrifice and service. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like any service I do now can measure up. This show reminded me that the little things really do count. It’s about taking the time to have a genuine conversation with someone, doing the dishes that were left in the sink, sharing the dinner you made with a friend, reaching out to check in on people, and so on. I have been grateful not just to be the doer of these small kindnesses over the course of the show, but the recipient of them. How much more beautiful might the world be if we all focused more on the small kindnesses!

Hannah Young (Cousin/Strength)

This week I got closer to a roommate that I have felt pretty distanced from. It was scary and vulnerable, but I learned so much about her and I really grew to love her a lot. My apartment has started to feel like a home again. 🙂

 

Lillian Bills (Dramaturg)

My great-grandma is 98 and still lives by herself. She is spry, super sharp, and one of my heroes. Because she lives alone, this year of self-isolation has been difficult for her. Over the summer, I was able to visit her and help her out in her summer cabin, but since fall, I haven’t seen or talked to her. I called her and she was so happy to speak with me. She tells the most amazing stories about everyone she has ever met and I realized that in order to learn the stories, she had to listen and ask questions.
So, following her example, I’ve been spending time at work listening to my coworkers, checking in on their needs, and doing what I can to make sure they know they are loved. I gave my friend a bottle of fancy tomato sauce. (He was much more grateful and happier than I thought he would be). One night I noticed my roommate had washed her sheets, but it was 11 pm and her bed wasn’t made yet, so I folded her laundry and made her bed. The next day, she cleaned the kitchen which made my heart sing. Since I’ve started to do little things in an effort to just be kind and understanding, I’ve been happier, more satisfied, and eager to do more.

Lillian Bills and her Great-Grandma Alice in Cooke City Montana, July 2020 (courtesy of Lillian Bills)

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