By Janet Walgren
Today was my syncopated Sunday. It started with 30 minutes of Sacrament Meeting followed by a trip to Tiny Tots to conduct primary for about 30+ severely handicapped children ranging in age from 3 to 25 years old. Most are in wheelchairs, need feeding tubes and can’t walk or talk. When I first started going, I was told that I had received the calling because the Lord wanted me to be happy. It was right after my mother died and a very interesting blessing accompanied the calling.
On my first visit all that I could think of was the smell and the need for Kleenex and bibs. I felt strangely out of place and wondered why so many of the Lord’s choice children were abandoned to such care. Now after a year of service, I can truly say that I have a wonderful time there. When I come in, the faces of the children light up, they smile, and I can see a light in their eyes. It is a conversation without words on their part as I go around and greet each one with a touch, a smile and a gentle word. During singing time today, I was holding a girl’s hand and singing to her. “If you’re happy and you know it, shout hurray!” She smiled at me and let out a squeal and I could tell that she was trying to shout hurray!”
The High Priest group from one of the congregations was assigned to furnish the volunteers today and a whole quorum of stately grandpas showed up. They came early and were well prepared. At least that is what they thought. What they were not prepared for was the way the children touch your heart. There is one little boy who is different. He is about the size of a four year old. Teven can walk with the assistance of a walker, can speak, and is able to express words and feelings with such powerful simplicity that it tugs at your heartstrings.
Today Teven was paired with a sweet gentle sort of man who sat beside him and held his hand. Teven told the man that he wished his friends were here; the man asked Teven who his friends were. Teven said, “I don’t know. Would you be my friend?” The man said yes. Shortly after this exchange, the man was loving Teven with little pats on the head, shoulder, and knees when Teven said, “I know why you’re tickling me. It’s because you’re my friend.” The sweet man started to tear up and it was all that he could do to maintain his composure. By the end of primary, the man was holding little Teven in his arms cradling him like a baby and both hearts had worshipped God. They were changed.
After primary, I raced back to the church, walked into a Sunday school class that was in progress, handed the bishop my tithing envelope, and heard a thirty second sermon. Sister Kjeldsen was teaching the lesson. All I heard was a simple question. “Why is it that we are willing to go to such extraordinary measures to save a mortal life that hangs in the balance and yet are not willing to take the time or make the sacrifice to save a spiritual life that is in jeopardy?” I needed to hear that question to put my Sabbath in to perspective. I rushed off to make the 35 mile trip to attend church with one of my daughters who has been absent from church for seven long years due to her work schedule among other things.
On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, I will be attending the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sunday broadcast with my daughter whose father-in-law sings in the choir. Then I will go to church with her so that she will not have to go alone.
My syncopated Sabbaths happen on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays of the month. I love my syncopated Sabbaths with the Tiny Tots, and my Sundays will continue much like today. I have been spiritually fed, and I am happy. Hurray!!!