Sunday, November 20, 2011

apathy & how i learned to breathe again

this week has completely changed my entire life 

it's a story to be shared.

here we go.

this picture was taken on saturday.
this is a picture of the kindest stranger i have ever met.
a man who made a simple choice
and caused the complete conversion into the person i am right now.

on friday,
i mentioned to my sisters
that the week had changed my life,
but not for the better.

this week brought a lot of sadness, anguish, heartache.
this week brought me a lot of trials.

in this world,
you will encounter lots of flakiness, lots of broken promises, lots of laziness and sarcasm.
you will encounter people who insist that they are just "blunt" and "speak their mind"
which is said to disguise their bad manners.
in this world,
we will all encounter people who refuse to put down their cell phones or the tv remote,
who would much rather attend a movie than attend a charity event,
who will choose to lose patience with a waiter or server,
who won't hesitate to type coarse comments on the internet,
who will slowly lose themselves to apathy.

that is what it comes down to.

apathy causes us to refuse to listen, to refuse to get up and move, to refuse action.
apathy caused all of those people to pass that jewish man laying on the side of the road.

apathy has destroyed relationships, friendships, jobs, health, families.

apathy is a dangerous infection that seeps in one inaction at a time and weighs you down, eventually pulling you down into the couch, pulling you into yourself, into your own world.

of all of the signs of the second coming,
of the apocalypse,
what have you...

apathy will be the demise of humankind.

i was ready to quit my job,
start looking for other places to live,
to pick up and drift from place to place.

saturday morning,
i woke up like every other...
went to go and teach dance,
get ready for a party that evening,
all the while feeling a little less whole.

the disappointment of how others' apathy had affected me so heavily that i, myself, had started to succumb.

i was really looking forward to a party that we had been planning for weeks,
and that was getting me through.

i had prepared some killer cookies,
made some lovely decorations,
hand-knit a scarf to give,
planned my outfit.
the whole shebang.

all day long, my phone had not been working.
if it had,
i would have got the memo that it had been cancelled.
if my phone had been working,
i wouldn't have been in the car halfway to farmington when i found this out.

if i hadn't been driving up to farmington,
my car wouldn't have run out of gas on the highway.

there i was,
driving to toward this light at the end of the tunnel,
when my car slowed to a stop.

i made a few calls, just trying to get someone to come up and help me out.

i waited
with no response.

after a few minutes
a white car pulled up in front of me.

i thought,
"oh, no.
i'm going to get a ticket from this undercover police officer.

out steps a completely ordinary man.
he walks over to me and says,
"is everything okay?"

i explain the situation and mention that i had made a few calls and was just waiting to hear back.
his name is rick.
he asks if i have a gas can.
i don't.

he says,
"what can i do for you?"

i insist that everything is okay and that i'm sure someone will call back.

he says,
"do you need a ride somewhere? i've got my wife and daughter in the car. if you're not comfortable with that, i can go find some help for you."

at this point, i don't know what to say.
he promptly says, "i will ride up to the next gas station and see what we can do."
we exchange phone numbers,
and he was off.

about five minutes later,
rick calls me.

he says,
"they have a gas can here. let me get some gas for you and we will head back."
i say i don't have cash.
he says,
"don't worry about it. hang in there, we will be right there."

next thing i know, he's pulling up behind me and quietly and humbly emptying his new gas can into my car.
he wants to make sure i'm okay,
so he follows me to the gas station.

at this moment,
i'm in awe.

i give rick a call and tell him how utterly grateful i am, how i will remember this for the rest of my life.
at this moment,
i am in tears.
i cannot control it.

he says,
"thank you for the kind words, but it really was nothing. i hope your trip gets better.
something just told me to stop for you.
God bless."

i hang up
and take a moment to just release all of my emotions.

there i was,
sitting on the side of the road in need.
car after car passes me by.
one beautiful soul, my good samaritan, stops to help,
to pick me up and get me back in motion,
asking nothing in return.

i begin driving,
plugging in my ipod to listen to some music.

like something out of a fairytale,
this hymn comes on.

if ever there was a sign as clear as a summer's day,
this is it.

ani said it best,
God's work isn't done by God, it's done by people.

at this moment,
i realized who i need to be.

forever goodbye to apathy.
forever goodbye to disregard, to inaction.

i'm now enlisted in the army of alms.

this moment 
was a call to action. 

more than ever,
it's so important to be a force for good,

to combat listlessness and unconcern,
to fight the good fight against all things harsh and discourteous,
to vow to never pass up a needy soul again.

in this world,
generosity and goodness are more influential
and actions under these virtues are louder than ever.

if you see a beggar
and have nothing to give,
spare a few kind words to lift their spirits.

if you see a car pulled over,
and have nowhere to be,
stop and simply ask if they need assistance.

slow your sarcasm.
watch your words,
that they may uplift all around you when you speak.

and ask for nothing in return.

contribute to the beauty of the world,
do not detract from it.

be gracious.
accept compliments,
express gratitude,
be humbled by those around you,
no matter what their contribution.

be a wonderful, unparalleled version
of yourself.
be a force for good.
use your words, your actions, your minutes/hours/days/nights
to do something to spread your love,
the Savior's love,
to all of the corner's of the earth.

be inspired to be a soldier in this apathetic world.

submit yourself to this just cause
and, like rick,
 you just might inspire another soul to enlist as well. 


  1. i can't even find the right words to express how inspiring this is. thank you, ayley. this is exactly what i needed. your words speak to my soul and make me want to be a better person.
    thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  2. This totally made me cry. Thank you so much for sharing. I definitely need to be more giving and selfless; this was such a needed lesson.

  3. You are incredible. People are incredible. Lots of things are incredible, and it's stories like these that will make people open there eyes to it. Thank you so much for coming to the party! If you hadn't come, you never would've experienced this, and I am glad that you did. Eye-opening for all of us.

  4. you are so inspiring. rick is so inspiring. thank you so much for sharing this story and your thoughts. your honesty is beautiful. I want to be better. I'm going to be better.

    Also, I love the scarf. I really do. Like you have no idea.

  5. I love random acts of kindness and I always try to do my fair share. He sounds like an amazing, amazing man.

  6. ahh ayley i really hope my flakiness on the party didn't add to the awfulness of your week. i seriously wanted to be there and cannot wait for the re-scheduled party. and this story is amazing. in a world of so much bad it's so refreshing to hear a story of good. how wonderful of that man to stop and help you in that situation and how wonderful of you to take so much from that sitation and apply it to your own life.

  7. i'm so touched. you are such a good soul. thank you soo much for sharing this. you have such a way with words. i feel like you need to become a writer. but more than that a mother. your soul is so full of goodness and light. the light of Jesus Christ. you are amazing ayley. i'm soo grateful that you are my friend.


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