I am not a math whiz. And I’m pretty sure that many in that field in academia would say the following is impossible, but I have found over and over again that dividing is multiplying. Well, love, that is, when divided multiplies. The more people you give yourself to – your love, concern, time, and caring – the more of those parts of you there seem to be to share with others again.
Sister Neill F. Marriott’s words rang clear and true to me when she spoke at the General Women’s Session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as she related the story of ‘Aunt Carol’…
“Love is making space in your life for someone else…”
I have seen this new spiritual math manifest it’s dependable results in my life in numerous ways.
Six children equals a lot of friends.
Our home was always filled with the friends of our children. We wanted it that way. My husband and I made a concerted effort to develop relationships with them of our own. Though all our hatchlings have flown from our nest, we still hear from, counsel with, and spend time with many of their high school and college friends. That is such a delight for us. I enjoy the playful conversations I have with our children’s friends, now grown, on social media. We weep with those who come to the house to talk through difficult situations; a young marriage that is failing or failed already, infertility, a wavering testimony, questions on schooling or career paths. They are also our friends now.
Just last April my husband and I went up to General Conference. One afternoon we were taking my mother, who was serving a mission at the Family History Center at the time, to lunch at the mall across from Temple Square. As we were walking towards the restaurant my husband said, “Hey, look who that is!” I scanned the group around us looking for a familiar face. Then I saw him, a wonderful friend of our oldest son, Beau. He was with another young man from our area who had been in the Young Single Adult Ward we had served in a few years earlier. We had a big group hug and laughed as we caught up with each other. We took a picture that I promptly sent to our son, and to his friend’s parents. Another big hug, a few tears on my part, and it was goodbye.
Half-way through our lunch we looked up to see these two young men, now husbands and fathers, walking toward us. They pulled two chairs from another table and sat down, plopping a bag in the middle of the table. “Sister Packard, I knew you would love these”, the handsome redhead said. I opened the bag to see multiple types of chocolates, fudge, and a giant caramel apple. “We just wanted to tell you again how much we love you both, how much you meant to us, and still mean to us.” I was so touched. (The tears came right back).
The math works in Church service too.
I would probably be very close if I guessed that ninety percent of my Church service has been with the teenagers and young single adults. It has been such fun, and a lot of work. I have countless cherished memories of personal visits, or phone calls, or email conversations with so many of the young women, and sometimes the young men, whom I served, and taught, and played with. To this day we see many of those great kids, now adults. I’ve been able to serve with some of them too. A while back I served as the Young Women’s secretary in our ward. The president was a lovely, capable, young mother who years before had been a Beehive in my ward and I had been her ward Young Women president. Now she was leading and I watched with admiration. We loved serving together.
On our mission to Russia we served with the Young Single Adults. We had a blast!!! Because the bulk of the converts there come from this 18-30 year old age group we had a lot of teaching, training, mentoring, and frankly parenting to do concerning the how the gospel looked in the lives of grown men and women, in marriages, and in family life.
We opened our home, schedules, and hearts to these wonderful young people. The more we played with them the more they came to us, trusting us enough to ask questions. The more we taught, the more they listened. The more we testified of the truths of the gospel, the more they responded in kind. When our service was through we left with a couple hundred new children woven tightly into the fabric of our hearts.
As I have loved you, love another.
This new commandment: love one another.
By this shall men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 
Building the Kingdom through nurturing.
In her message Sister Marriott taught that each woman came to earth with nurturing gifts; and that mothering means to give life – not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually also. She encouraged our efforts with these words:
“Our inspiration and intuition are necessary parts of building the kingdom of God, which really means doing our part to bring salvation to God’s children.”
Look for those around whom you might nurture with your love, time, testimony, caring, and listening ear.
“In these tender yet powerful ways, we build the kingdom of God,” she said.
Don’t believe your calculators. Each time you divide your love and gifts by nurturing those around you they will be multiplied. And so will the joy you feel.
 “Love One Another”, LDS Hymnal, John 13:34-35