I have a love-hate relationship with Relief Society (and, let's face it, all other large-group interactions). On the one hand, I want to be liked and have someone to sit by or chat with when necessary. On the other hand, I just want to be left alone most of the time. I don't really ever need anything from my visiting teachers; I'm going along fairly smoothly in my life, and I have a great relationship with my family. I'm not perfect; I don't dive into the scriptures as much as I'd like, and there are lots of other things that should be happening, but really, I'm good!
We moved to New Jersey in August 2010, I had Joseph that October, and I got called to be in the Primary presidency in January, and I've had that calling ever since. I didn't have much chance to spend time in Relief Society classes on Sunday before, and now I feel like I don't know almost anyone in Relief Society. Mother's Day is coming up, and so is the well-intentioned desire to allow all the women in the ward to attend Relief Society instead of do their other third-hour callings. I'm desperately trying to come up with a way to stay in Primary. In our ward in Chicago, where I was also in the Primary presidency, I just stayed in Primary as we didn't have the numbers to restaff, and I happily gave the excuse, "Let them go. I'm not a mother yet. I'm good to stay here and help." I don't think I'll be able to give that excuse this year. We have very few women in Primary and lots of youth and dads that can help. How can I tell them I'm happier doing my job, not sitting in RS?
And then there's visiting teaching. I'm going to visit a sister today and was looking over the message and checking out Daughters in My Kingdom. It seems like all of the stories and experiences dealt with sisters who were having a genuinely hard time financially, personally, spiritually, physically, or emotionally. The two sisters I have been assigned to visit are really great women. One has been kind to me from the moment I moved in, and we serve together in Primary. She and her family have some struggles, but they are all strong, active members who do great things with their talents and time. The other sister is married with four kids (ages 4, almost 2, and 8-month-old twins). She and her husband moved here to live with her parents after they found out they were having the twins, so they have lots of extra hands and help much of the time. She and her family are also active and strong with no obvious needs. This is not to say their lives are perfect and need no help or lifting up, but really, what is there for me to do?
As I sat despairing a little, and thinking how much I would hate having another sister come and clean my house, as is suggested every time visiting teaching comes up, I went to my knees. Maybe, I felt as I prayed, this assignment is less about what I do for them and more about helping me make a friend or two while I'm here. I always do much better in a one-on-one situation than I do in a large group. And the Lord (not to mention the RS Presidency) is kind enough to give me that opportunity through Relief Society in a way that doesn't happen on Sunday.
Maybe on Mother's Day I'll bite the bullet, go to Relief Society when the men kindly kick me out of Primary, and will be pleasantly surprised to find I see not only familiar faces, but also friends to sit by.
A Man Called Ove
20 hours ago