Not long ago a single sister, whom I will call Molly, came home from work only to find two inches (5 cm) of water covering her entire basement floor. Immediately she realized that her neighbors, with whom she shared drainage lines, must have done an inordinate amount of laundry and bathing because she got the backed-up water.
After Molly called a friend to come and help, the two began bailing and mopping. Just then the doorbell rang. Her friend cried out, “It’s your home teachers!”
Molly laughed. “It is the last day of the month,” she replied, “but I can assure you it is not my home teachers.”
With bare feet, wet trousers, hair up in a bandana, and a very fashionable pair of latex gloves, Molly made her way to the door. But her stark appearance did not compare with the stark sight standing before her eyes. It was her home teachers!
“You could have knocked me over with a plumber’s friend!” she later told me. “This was a home teaching miracle—the kind the Brethren share in general conference talks!” She went on: “But just as I was trying to decide whether to give them a kiss or hand them a mop, they said, ‘Oh, Molly, we are sorry. We can see you are busy. We don’t want to intrude; we’ll come another time.’ And they were gone.”
“Who was it?” her friend called out from the basement.
“I wanted to say, ‘It certainly wasn’t the Three Nephites,’” Molly admitted, “but I restrained myself and said very calmly, ‘It was my home teachers, but they felt this was not an opportune time to leave their message.’”
Now, I love me some Elder Holland, but I HATE this story. I hate it so much I kind of want to beat it up with a plunger.
No, it doesn't upset me that Molly's home teachers left without helping her. What upsets me is that they left because Molly didn't tell them she needed help.
Whatever the reason for their arrival, Molly's home teachers were literally ringing her doorbell right as her basement was turning into a swimming pool. Imagine if she had opened the door, seen them standing there, and then, before they could say so much as "Hello" she said, "I'm so glad you're here! My basement is flooding and I really need your help!" Ten bucks says these men would have gladly dropped everything they were doing for the rest of the evening and helped her with Operation Bail Out.
Yes, you can argue that she would have said something if they had given her an opening, but how often do we have someone standing there available to help us and then we let them leave without saying a word about our predicament?
Not long ago I woke up with the thought that a friend of mine was struggling and needed help. I admit, I felt rather ridiculous texting, "Are you okay? Do you need help?" because I didn't know the reason why I was figuratively standing on her doorstep. She easily could have responded, "I'm fine. Thanks for asking!" and I would have moved on with my day. But she didn't. She was struggling and she told me so, and now I can help her because I'm aware of what is going on.
Peter, when he started sinking, wasn't like, "It's okay, Lord! I'm good! I've got this!" He called out, "Lord, save me!" and Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him. (Matthew 14:30-31) How many people do we have in our lives who are also ready to catch us if we will just speak up when we need help?
To me, that is the lesson of this story. It's not just that we need to be more aware of the needs of others or that we need to be more prayerful and in tune (though we absolutely do). It's that when you need help, it's okay to speak up, cry out, and yell down the driveway if you have to. Help is always available.