Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Not to be a downer, but I had kind of a crappy morning. This is relevant. There I was, sitting upstairs in the Institute, trying my dangedest not to cry (and failing), when up comes Noor. I would say "when up walks Noor," but the man just kind of apparated. Before I knew he was there, he was crouching down beside my chair and asking, "What's wrong?"

"I'm not sure, and I think that's part of the problem," I muttered (approximately).



"Is it a boy?"


"Do you need chocolate?"

Tentative head nod.

"Watch my stuff for a minute." And he was gone like the Flash. I'm not just saying that for imagery, either. He sprinted off down the hallway.

I spent the next few minutes trying to pull myself together for decorum's sake, then before I knew it, he had returned and had his hands hidden behind his back.

"Slow-release or fast-acting?" he asked.

I thought about it for a second. "Fast-acting," I decided.

And he whipped out a big bar of Hershey's special dark. Fast-acting, indeed. Where he went to get it is beyond me, but I'm not sure I really want to know. Somehow not knowing makes it better, like maybe he slipped through a closet and brought back magical Narnia chocolate. Dementor-fighting Narnia chocolate. The one chocolate to rule them all.

He left the slow-acting M&Ms for later. Noor, I can't thank you enough. Honestly. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Several hours later, as I was reading a little Brandon Sanderson before my lit. class started, I heard one of the girls behind me saying that all she needed was a little chocolate and she would be fine. Before I was entirely conscious of what I was doing, I had reached into my backpack and pulled out the package of M&Ms, which I promptly placed next to her sleek black MacBook. (This alliteration and rhyme is dedicated to Laura, who loves it.) The girl protested that she could not take my chocolate, but considering how it had come into my hands, I insisted. Then suddenly the girl was getting up to give me a hug and people all over the room were talking about how generous I was. One girl said I was like an angel. Even the professor was watching the proceedings. Needless to say, I felt very self-conscious.

"No," I wanted to say to them. "I'm not an angel. I'm not deserving of this praise. I'm only giving what was freely given. I'm just paying it forward."

After that, before our professor turned us loose into a Socratic discussion of a short story about a balloon, I started thinking about Gordon B. Hinckley, and the advice his dad had given him while he was on his mission: Forget yourself and go to work.


Listening to: Vlogbrothers
Reading: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

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