You Do the Math

2-9By Ron Dawburn of Manchester, Tennessee, USA

Do not be fearful of one another. Respect each life journey, even in its brokenness and uncertainty, for each person has walked alone at times. Be ready to listen and slow to criticize…

—Doctrine and Covenants 161:3b

Because of the U-boat blockade of England during the Second World War, few ships could bring supplies. Food was scarce. We used ration books that assured any available food would be distributed fairly.

One evening at church we had a party. To the surprise of everyone, a bowl of oranges was on the table. I had seen pictures of oranges, but seeing them for real fascinated me. I counted them and the number of people in the room. I figured that if they cut each orange into four pieces there would be enough for one apiece and five pieces left over. Five children were there, and I figured each of us would get an extra piece.

The time came for cutting the oranges, and as I expected, they cut each into four. We got our piece, and I ate mine, peel and all. Then I sat waiting for them to give the rest to us children. To my disappointment, a young woman went to the table, picked up all five pieces, put them in a bag, and started to leave.

I couldn’t stay quiet. I blurted, “It’s not fair. She’s taking all the oranges.” I began to say more, but my mother had me by the ear and dragged me from the room.

My mother told me the young woman had brought the oranges. They had been a gift to her, and she shared them with us. I then felt badly about what I had said. I felt even worse when my mother told me I was to apologize the next time I saw the woman.

Each time I went to church I dreaded meeting her. I put it off until the last moment, when she was walking out the door. I rushed to her and blurted out how sorry I was. She laughed, took my head in her hands, and kissed my forehead.

Suddenly the burdens of the world lifted. The sun shined brighter, and I floated home. God blessed me with wise parents who helped me develop as a disciple with Grace and Generosity.

Prayer for Peace
Generous God, may neither pride nor fear keep us from mending broken relationships.

Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
Read and reflect on Psalm 42:1–2. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond to people and their needs. The call to journey inward can restore us in times of physical or spiritual depletion. You are thirsty, dry, and empty. Listen prayerfully again to the psalm. As you feel restored, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move into the outward journey. Remember this exercise as you drink water throughout the day.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will accept what is offered to me with grace.

Leave a comment


  1. Dennis Aldridge

     /  9 February 2013 – if you haven’t got it.

  2. Dennis Aldridge

     /  9 February 2013

    It’s nice to be rminded of West Street! How about an e-mail, Ron?


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