A Widow and Her Three Daughters


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The Only Real Gift is a Portion of Oneself

During the administration of President George Albert Smith, there lived in our ward an impoverished widow who cared for her three mature daughters, each of whom was an invalid.  They were large in size and almost totally helpless. To this dear woman fell the task to bathe, to feed, to dress, and to care for her girls.  Means were limited.  Outside help was nonexistent. 

Then came the blow that the house she rented was to be sold.  What was she to do?  Where would she go?  The bishop came to the Church Office Building to inquire if there were some way the house could be purchased.  It was so small, the price so reasonable.  The request was considered, then denied.

A heartsick bishop was leaving the front door of the building when he met President George Albert Smith.  After the exchange of greetings, President Smith inquired, "What brings you to the headquarters building?" He listened carefully as the bishop explained, but said nothing.  He then excused himself for a few minutes.  He returned wearing a smile and directed, "Go upstairs to the fourth floor.  A check is waiting there for you.  Buy the house!"

"But the request was denied."

Again he smiled and said, "It has just been reconsidered and approved." The home was purchased. That dear widow lived there and cared for her daughters until each of them had passed away. Then she, too, went home to God and to her heavenly reward.

The leadership of this Church is mindful of the widow, the widower, the lonely.  Can we be less concerned?  Emerson counseled that rings and jewels are not gifts, but substitutes for gifts.  The only real gift is a portion of oneself. (See "Gifts," by Ralph Waldo Emerson.)