One of the aspects of the LDS faith that I love is that there are always opportunities to serve. In all my many years as a member of the church, I have been to many different services projects, but in all sincerity, my absolute favorite is ... helping people move. I am totally serious. Setting up and taking down chairs is just tedious and repetitive. And those sub-stage, bowling alley-esque chair-caves are just creepy. Every time I go in one I keep thinking I'll find a bunch of dead clowns. But moving people is something I can totally get behind:
- It's something that most people can't do on their own, so they genuinely need the help and are almost always appreciative.
- It's hard work, so you're getting some physical activity.
- There are usually a bunch of other guys there to help, so you can chat and catch up with people in an informal setting.
- And my favorite: there's always potential for a great story.
Since I love it, I have been to many, many moves. So many that I can classify the "great" ones into categories, with examples for each:
- The Pigsty: I’m not just talking about a messy house. I have literally been to a move where we had to wade through two feet of garbage throughout the entire two-bedroom apartment to get to the furniture. I’m talking empty cans (non-alcoholic), pizza boxes, wrappers, everything. I’m not sure how many bags of garbage were taken out, but it had to have been close to 50. At one point, I think everyone there probably had the thought “Shouldn’t we just light everything on fire?”
- The Not-Packed: My least favorite. This is where you get there and the owner either says “Oh you’re here, I guess we better start packing” (bad) or “Oh you’re here, you can start packing up the stuff in there” (worse). I have been to a move where almost NOTHING was boxed up when we got there. My charitable side said “They must not understand how it works.” My less-charitable side wanted to scream “Seriously!? Are you expecting us to be here all day!?”
- The Short-Notice: Pretty self-explanatory. Most members of the church understand that you need some time to get some bodies together, so most of the experiences I’ve had with this stem from the missionaries. I’ve had a call from the missionaries who said “We have an investigator that is being evicted from their apartment tomorrow at midnight. Can you come help us move them tonight?” While terribly inconvenient, pretty rewarding in the end.
- The Ingrate: It’s nice to be appreciated. One move I went to, we had at least 15 members of the Elders Quorum there (a record turnout) to help a less-active family move out of their apartment. The couple was semi-disabled and their recently-turned-adult daughter was “directing” the move. This included (literally) yelling at us for not carrying things the right way and not taking things out in the right order. It got so bad that after the shock wore off we couldn’t help laughing hysterically when she was out of earshot.
- The Lonely: This is where you show up and you’re the only one there besides the owners. I recently went to a move that was scheduled at 2 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Since I work from home, I was able to arrange my schedule to go, but ended up getting there at 2:15. I was literally the only person there to help. Go figure at 2:00 in the afternoon on a weekday. My advice if you get there and find yourself in this situation: Immediately say “Hey, I hope it’s okay, but I’ve only got an hour and then I have to be somewhere."
- I won’t go into The Late Truck, The Four Trips and The Grand Piano, but they were all winners.
A-Dub currently lives in Portland, Oregon, but grew up in the Midwest. After a mission to Argentina and a degree from BYU, Aaron received an MBA from the University of Washington. Consequently, he is a data-driven corporate sellout who thinks the government should generally mind its own business. A lifelong Mormon and former counselor in a bishopric, Aaron feels that the eccentricities of Mormon culture should be made fun of as much as possible, that the main point of the gospel is to be like Christ and help others, and suspects that – whether openly or covertly – everyone likes Neil Diamond. He and his amazing wife have two boys.
Image credit: Seattle Jon (used with permission).