Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time for a Change

As we all know, my blog all but died when I became a Relief Society president. Somehow, I just couldn't keep up with the husband, kids, home, work, school AND 70-80 other women and their organization. Let's face it, if all I had to organize in life was myself, I'd do a fairly interesting version of OK. So, things had to go. Like my mind. My brain feels like an autumn leaf, being blown away on a blustery day and I just can't catch it. So my body swims around like a shark in circles trying to chase what it was I was doing and never actually getting anything done. Maybe I just have a tumor the size of a baseball in my head and that's why I can't think straight anymore. Who knows?
Now, I will stop whining about my brain and get back to the story. It's kind of sad in a way that writing should fall by the wayside because so much was happening that I wish I could hold onto and preserve and come back to. As it is, I guess I'll just have to sum it up as one whole experience. A crazy thing happens with a job like this. It isn't like most other callings. It's like you are suddenly shouldering a portion of the responsibility of the bishop- a portion of the portion of watching over the women. And watching over the women is huge because the men and the children are depending on the women. The minute you are handed the job, you're no longer completely you anymore. The Savior is sitting on your shoulder 24/7 telling you to do this for them or that for them. When you interact with the sisters, you don't just see them as you saw them, you see them as He sees them. The enormous faith in them, compassion for them, awareness of their strengths and their weaknesses, their challenges and their blessings. You see and feel so much. Everything is magnified. The best way to explain it is, they're like your child. You see the whole picture and you love them so much! You also ache for them and worry about them and try to help them and are so proud of them at how they face things. It's so intense. I am so amazed at how huge the love is, it just blows me away. I understand the Savior's love for us better than I ever have.
The hardest part for me has been having to share this experience with the same part of my life where I had so much else on my plate at home. I have struggled so much to find the balance, have ached for my own family and how much I drop the ball at home, and gotten frustrated at their incapacity to pick up that ball. At times, they have been resentful. At times, they had good reason. Other times, not so much. As a Sister, I feel like so often I show up too late or have too little to offer. The anxiety of knowing I need to visit about 10 people any given week and knowing some weeks I will be lucky to squeeze in one is excruciating. You get to hold people's hands through all kinds of challenges-job losses, illnesses, deaths, mental illness, as victims of crimes, with marital problems and parental problems, housing problems, with challenges in education, in language, in spiritual growth and understanding and on and on. It's HUGE!!!!
Meanwhile the organization and activities need to carry on. A few big activities a year, most months a smaller one, a few special classes here and there and the never ending visiting teaching thing- encourage, call, try to get reports, rearrange when people move in and move out, it goes on and on. 90% of the time I've had to do this with NO visiting teaching leader or district leaders. With limited help for my counselor over activities, with NO compassionate service leader. Because it just takes time to get a whole ward organized and functioning when everyone's lives are chaos.
Anyhow, a couple of times lately I have come very close to going to the bishop and saying I just can't do this anymore. But I stopped myself. For two reasons. One, that would be so rude to the bishop. He's even worse off than me. Two, everything I have done for the sisters- every lesson I prepared, every weekly goal I gave them, every visit every activity, every act of service helped prepare me for something that was about to happen or teach me something I needed to learn to help me at home. So, I didn't dare. What would I do without that parachute? Plus, as I have told my sisters a number of times, I don't ever want to stop feeling the love that you feel in this calling. I've prayed for it to never go away. So I prayed to find answers, for how to make it all work. I prayed impossible things like sanity and more hours in the day. Basically, I came away deciding it was time to buck up and rework some things and get ourselves going on a better path as a presidency and get way more visiting done. So I started making big plans. But mercifully, I didn't have to go through with all of them.
I turned 47. And it was a Monday, just an ordinary work day. I got a text from the bishop that we needed to talk about something. This happens. A lot. Now what? There has been a sort of tidal wave of challenges recently. Who's in trouble now? It turns out, when I show up, he tells me he needs to release me as the Relief Society president. I was stunned. For a second, I felt lost. Then I was just starting to think, "Hooray! I may actually have time now to find the twins' bedroom floor under all the clutter!" but I didn't finish the thought because the bishop was saying...however, I need you to do something else-I need you to be the Young Women's President. What?!? What the... I was stunned. I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what to say. People can say what they want about my bishop, but one thing I have to say, he's one of the few people on the planet who can get me to stop talking. Once he gets released, he won't be able to do that anymore.
Bottom line, the twin's floor is still a mess. It IS better however. For the last 3 weeks, I've been Young Women's president. One of my old counselors is the new Relief Society Pres and thanks to people moving in, we each have a presidency and most all our people working for us now! Awesome how things work out. The other thing that was amazing was to watch the mantle fall on the new president. She feels just like I felt. The power of the Priesthood is real! It's so cool!
So, do I miss RS? Yes. and no. I still love the sisters and I love them unconditionally and I care about them, but the weight is gone! I feel so light I could fly! and it's also incredibly sad to not feel the Savior sitting on your shoulder 24/7. But, much like a full time mission, I wasn't sent home, I just changed areas. And in my new area, I have a lot of support. I love those girls already! I know this isn't going to be a cake walk. Girls age 12-18 are NOT easy to deal with. But, I'm not alone. I already have a stronger team behind me-great people really willing to work- 2 counselors, a secretary, 3 advisors for the girls, a camp leader, a personal progress assistant and 3 nearly complete presidencies of the young women classes themselves. And the biggest thing of all, is all the girls have moms, so I am really not shouldering as big a burden as I used to shoulder. Plus there are only 22 of them. Luckily we got called the very day of a leadership training by the general auxiliary leaders for the Spanish congregations. The next week was our stake training. So we're super trained. Then the youth leaders and I met with the bishop. The older girls, the Laurels are my responsibility and we met on Sunday for our meeting. They are so much more entertaining than grownups. And I'm going to learn a truckload from them too, I can tell already. I'm still going to struggle with all the same challenges I did before, but it is going to be a bit more manageable. I feel at home. Yippee!
Stay tuned for my next tome-changes in the workplace! Or will it be Enigma graduates? Depends on when Enigma gets her pictures to me. And there's more! I got other presents for my birthday.


Jam said...

Shellie---What an inspired Bishop. I've always thought you'd be an absolute KICK as a Young Woman's leader. I loved working with the YW!!! I'm positive you're doing a great job!!!! Hugs!

RAQ said...

love your post! so good share what you got from your calling and your testimony! as much as we don't understand Heavenly Father's logic we can trust in his love and wisdom that all things are for our good! you will be fabulous!

4boyzmdmom said...

I remember in on eof my wards they released the Primary president and made her the RS president. I remember thinking "That is SO not fair!!!" I thought the same thing when I heard about your calling change. But it sounds like (as always) the Lord knows what He's doing. I loved hearing about your experiences as an RS president. That is a job that I hope to never have, but reading your post encourages me that if I ever do, the Lord will help me do it.

I used to be terrified of being Primary president also, but here I am--and it's amazing how it all works out!

Casdok said...

And it does work out :)