“Why?” I asked, curious about the reason for her passionate response.
“Primary has changed you so much,” she responded.
Her comment further piqued my curiosity. “How so?” I asked.
“You became nice,” she blurted.
Became nice? BECAME? Oh dear.
“I mean,” she continued, “I no longer fear for the lives and well-being of children I bring into our home.”
Hum. The news was not improving. First I learn that I was not nice and then I learn that I was a threat. “How much longer do you think I would have needed to remain in Primary to become completely nice?” I asked cautiously.
Not going to happen. Primary has no chance of further reforming me because I have been called to serve as Relief Society President. Now the congregation’s women ages 18 and up (203 of them) will have to complete the job that was started in Primary. GOOD LUCK!!!
Good luck indeed. Good blessings are actually what I need. And, blessedly but not coincidentally, good blessings are what I have enjoyed so far. The two ladies who serve as my counselors are fully committed to Christ and overflowing with love for Him and for His Father’s children. Our secretary has been through the refiner’s fire and emerged stronger than steel and much, MUCH more compassionate. Already we work well together and will get better at working together as I begin to figure out what I am doing….which is happening….slowly.
One of a Relief Society President’s responsibilities is to watch out for the physical welfare of the congregation. What does this translate to in real life? One of the things it means is that when a family does not have enough money for food I visit with the mother, discern the needs, help her make a menu, and then fill out a two-week food order that she can take to the Bishop’s Storehouse and fill, free of charge. It is a divine concept that I feared would be awkward in action. I completed my first food order this week and it was fine. Phew.
The most significant discovery I made during my first week as Relief Society President is that I have been given a license to love. Really, that is what my job is all about: LOVE. Pretty simple actually. Love comes naturally to women, something about the way we are wired, I think. Our compassion circuits are simply more conductive than those of our (often good-hearted but sometimes clueless) male counterparts. We excel at love.
What I am learning about my call to lead the Relief Society is that it my license to love has been activated and super-charged; activated by the calling and super-charged by the Lord. The calling gives me the opportunity to love and the Lord shows me who and tells me how.
I felt I needed to visit two sisters but was unsure how to initiate the contact. To say, “I would simply like to chat with you” seemed weird, unjustified but, for lack of a more graceful opening, I did just that….and it worked. Love license in action! They graciously welcomed me into their lives. In one home the sister, who struggles with multiple health issues, asked how she could help me. COOL! In another home I volunteered to hold a fussy baby and ended up cuddling her to sleep. [A story Lance said was equivalent in miraculousness to the parting of the Red Sea and that Tanah refused to believe happened at all.]
“The errand of angels is given to women and this is a gift that as sisters we claim.” (Hymns, pg 309) Womanhood, by its very nature, gives us a license to love and I totally claim that gift. I claim the gift; I rejoice in the gift; I revel in the gift! To recognize a need…….to feel a yearning to help, reach out, serve….to act on those feelings………to cheer, to comfort, to connect…..is to experience joy, true, deep, soul-filling, life-influencing joy. This is our gift.
I like that. In fact, I love that!! I am so grateful to be a woman.