Wednesday, June 5, 2013

By Following the Savior’s Example, We Can Improve Our Lives



The following story shows how a young woman practiced the teachings of Jesus and saw improvement in her life.

Story

“Charlotte had come to a hard time in her life. She was filled with discontent. Everything seemed wrong. … Her friends were commonplace; her home unattractive; her own personality unlovely, as she was well aware. The problem was too much for Charlotte.
To obtain help, Charlotte went to Margaret Ames, a lady who was leading the kind of life that Charlotte wanted to lead. “Charlotte poured out the story of her heartache over her frustrated, unhappy life. … Margaret after a gentle word of sympathy said, ‘You can change all that if you really have the will to do it.’ …
“[To begin the new life, Mrs. Ames suggested to Charlotte]: ‘Live for twenty-four hours as if Christ were right beside you, seeing everything that you do. Then come to me again, and we’ll talk it over. Will you do that?’
“… Somewhat … doubtful, she answered, ‘Yes, Mrs. Ames.’ …
“It was late afternoon when Charlotte went home. She knew that she was expected to help get the supper onto the table. She went to the drawer and took out a wrinkled tablecloth. When she spread it on the table, she noticed several soiled spots. And here she had her first thought of change.
“ ‘If Christ were going to eat with us, I wouldn’t put on a soiled cloth,’ she said to herself.
“She got a fresh cloth. And with the same thought she brought in a small bowl of flowers from the yard. She put the butter on a fresh plate instead of on the soiled one. She cut the bread with care. …
“ ‘Company tonight?’ asked her father. …
“ ‘Just you, Daddy,’ smiled Charlotte. …
“Her mother, worn and hot, … sat down, saying, ‘I don’t know what’s got into her to fix up so just for us. I suppose she’s expecting someone to drop in before we’re done.’ …
“… ‘I don’t know of anyone I’d rather fix things up for than our own folks,’ she said.
“The family simply stared for a minute. That wasn’t like Charlotte. …
“In the living room [after dinner] Charlotte slipped a magazine out from the bottom of the pile and began to read. She had brought the magazine home herself, and she kept it [hidden]. After a few minutes she put it down. … ‘I wouldn’t be reading this if Christ were sitting where he could read with me,’ she thought. And she carried it out, and put it in the wastepaper bag. …
“[The next day Charlotte] went to work again. … She disliked her job very much. …
“ ‘Christ beside me,’ she thought as she walked into the store. … She said good morning smilingly to all she met.
“… She was even able to solve problems with rude customers as she reminded herself of how she would act if Christ were beside her. That evening she returned to Margaret Ames’s home to discuss the experiment.
“… ‘I tried it, Mrs. Ames, just as well as I could, and—well, it made everything different. I think I can see what you mean. Of course, it didn’t change the things that are bothering me. I’m still poor, and can’t go to school, and I live in an ugly house. …’
“ ‘Ah, my dear! But you only started the seed-sowing twenty-four hours ago. … Can you keep on as you’ve begun? … You have the [key] word. It is Christ. Fretting … doesn’t change things very much; but Christ does. Just remember to keep your daily walk very close to him.’

“ ‘I’m going to do it,’ said Charlotte” (Janet Craig, in Stories That Live, comp. Lucy Gertsch Thomson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1956], pp. 34–43; quoted in The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B [2000], pp. 7–8).

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