Ok, so the final reason I was so emotional last weekend was because in the midst of all the hoopla going on, we had some changes at church. Our stake, which is a group of church congregations or “wards,” was all out of whack. Some wards were humungous, while others were shrinking. This calls for realigning the boundaries of the wards to even things out. The stake leaders asked me and Dave to come in for a meeting on Tuesday and they gave us the news that things were going to be switching up. And with that switching, Dave and I were going to be changing church callings.
Callings and Releases
Dave was asked to be in the bishopric of one of the newly aligned wards. A “bishopric” is just the word we use for the “head” leaders who oversee the ward.
All the changes that would be happening on Sunday would cause the release of everyone not in the bishoprics of the newly aligned wards, and would necessitate all kinds of new callings to be made as each new ward is formed. (This is a HUGE job as you can imagine!).
So the stake leaders let me know that I would be released from my calling as the Relief Society president. I have been serving for two and a half years. What Dave will be doing will take a great deal of time and work, much like what I have been doing in Relief Society has. And there were actually three Relief Society presidents within the boundaries of our newly formed ward. Two who were newly called. So one of them sticks with the job, and I am suddenly wrapped up and done with this most incredibly tiring AND rewarding calling. Which feels so right just at the same time as it rips my heart out.
New Callings Bring New Growth
My feelings about this changing church callings business has taken me on a rollercoaster I have to say! I have gone from feeling so happy and peaceful to becoming a blubbering, bawling mess.
And then back and forth again.
I mean, how do you let go of so many women you have grown to love so much?? Of course, it’s not like we’re moving to a different planet. But wards tend to keep you busy, and become such a social and spiritual haven that you tend to not rub shoulders quite as much when you switch. (Which maybe I better get busy and start changing!)
I am so happy for Dave who is going to be exceptionally good at this, and I think he will really like it. And happy for me too, because to be honest, I was getting really tired. There is so much work to be done in a calling like that. And right along with all the work and logistics and organization and service, you learn to love those women so much your heart starts to feel so incredibly heavy you can barely lug it around any more!
I will always remember my conversation with my sister-in-law shortly after I got this calling. She told me through tears, that this is the best calling in the world. And do you know what? She was right!
There is nothing quite like it that allows connection in so many sacred ways.
But as we know, life is filled up with disruption. And that’s what helps us grow. I grew so much with these women, and now, who knows where I’ll serve, but I know it too will help me grow.
Just as this new one for Dave will help him grow in so many new ways!
Two things I want to remember:
We learn so much by letting go.
I love how Richard Rohr says it best:
“All great spirituality is about letting go. Instead, we have made it to be about taking in, attaining, performing, winning, and succeeding. True spirituality echoes the paradox of life itself. It trains us in both detachment and attachment: detachment from the passing so we can attach to the substantial.
Each time I learn to let go of what I thought was necessary for my own happiness, I invariably find myself in a larger place, a larger space, a deeper union, a greater joy. I’m sorry I can’t prove that to you ahead of time. We only know it after the fact.”Richard Rohr
Isn’t that so beautiful?? How I hope to remember to “attach to the substantial” as we make changes and things ebb and flow in every aspect of life!
Relief Society is a Worldwide Sisterhood.
This beautiful worldwide sisterhood of women, is so much more than one ward in one little town in the desert. It is a web of women in nearly 200 countries. You know anyone reading this is welcome to come join us if you’d like. As we tried to convey in the birthday gift we’re giving everyone this year: EVERYONE BELONGS!
On Sunday, before they announced the changes but I knew I was going to be released in this calling, we had our last Relief Society meeting. I read this poem:
“In Friendship…we think we have chosen our peer. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart.
But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances.
A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of others.”C.S. Lewis
That “Master of Ceremonies” was so good to “choose” those women for me. And the new ones I’ll be with as well!
Sisterhood at all different ages
My friend who works with the Young Women asked if she could bring those girls in for the last couple minutes of class to sing to us.
It was the most beautiful wrap-up of all of our emotions. There wasn’t a dry eye in that whole room.
I think the thing that made us all exceptionally emotional is that our ward really was pretty incredible. It was the perfect combination of ages and stages and filled right up with people who wanted to open their hearts. People who wanted to be vulnerable and grow their faith together.
Expanding our Circles
And when we went to the meeting to find what the realignment would be after church on Sunday, we found that they actually dissolved our ward and we all became part of different wards. We are separated all over the place. BUT, as one friend said in one of our text chains “I love to think of all of us sprinkling a little part of the magic of the Sierra Madre Ward into all our new wards.”
And she was right.
These women for sure have the power to “sprinkle magic.” As I sat there passing things over to the new Relief Society presidents of “my” women, I ached. And I know this sounds dramatic, but with every single woman I thought about, I had a giant pang in my heart wishing I could keep them this close forever and ever.
I still don’t know how to let go. But then I keep reminding myself I don’t have to. They are part of me because of the love we share…and they also live right around the corner! HA!
We have power, and also responsibility, as mothers, as friends, as fellow followers of Jesus Christ to “expand our horseshoes” indefinitely forever and ever.
May we be stretched in new capacities and new ways no matter where we are. Whether in new callings or pushing ourselves to be better friends, better disciples of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes the hardest work we will ever do isn’t moving to a new place or learning a new skill or getting a new job. It’s the work we do right in our own hearts.
I love this quote:
“Oh how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And, hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.“Marjorie Hinckley
And men? Well, they need each other too.
And I’m so excited for these four to be a team leading out this whole new situation!