I hadn’t been to high priests group meeting in a while, so of course pretty much only the high priests group leadership knew who I was yesterday. The topic of the lesson was Henry Eyring’s First Presidency Message in this month’s Ensign, “The Choice to Be Grateful.” I hadn’t read the article in question (my Ensign subscription has sadly lapsed), but in general I like Henry Eyring, whose talks often emphasize kindness, and charity.
Our high priests group does not have an assigned instructor, so each first week they ask a different person to teach. The instructor yesterday was an older man, and before he began, he asked us to be patient with him. Not too long ago, he had a stroke, and it affected his ability to recognize and recall words. Reading is difficult, and even speaking extemporaneously often leaves him struggling to find words. “I can picture it in my head,” he said, “but I can’t get the right word.”
Immediately, I felt bad for this man. I thought it was slightly cruel to ask him to teach the lesson, and I wondered what the high priests group leader had been thinking. Just as he said, he struggled mightily throughout the lesson, searching for words and trying to articulate his thoughts. But it was interesting to see the response of the rest of the group.
When he struggled, the men in that room helped him along, providing words when he needed them and praising him for his lesson. At the beginning, he had been nervous and a little embarrassed, but I could see him becoming more relaxed and confident as the men in the group helped him with the lesson. I didn’t know this man, obviously, but the other men in the room did. If they had been strangers, it might have been cruel or a bad idea to have him teach the lesson.
But he was among friends who love him, and it was really nice to see. I came away grateful for having seen kindness in action.