It happened again…..
As I rushed about the house Saturday morning, semi-frantically preparing to host Church Women United’s “World Day of Prayer”, a celebration that focused on the women of the Philippines this year, I vowed never to volunteer to host the event again. “Why do I do this to myself?” I questioned… “WHY?”
While preparing our church building for the event the “why” question flinted in and out of my mind and my vow to keep my mouth shut next time Pam asked for volunteers to host the meeting at their church strengthened. It would be so much easier (and infinitely less stressful) to stay at home. Heavens knows I certainly had many, MANY other things I could be doing.
Lance and Miles helped me set up tables and chairs. I put signs on all the external doors, directing visitors to the southeast corner of the building, made copies of all the songs in the program, created a marked copy for each speaking part in case the speaker either did not show or forgot their copies (both happened), set up tables for donations and registration, and used Sandy’s table clothes and bunches of fresh fruit (bananas anyone? I have LOTS!) to decorate the dining area (Primary room).
The reasons for my internal stress and quasi-regret for volunteering to host the event centered on concern for those who attend. Of course I wanted the venue to look nice and the program to run smoothly—responsibilities that I took on as hostess—but more than anything I wanted those who came to support me to have a good experience.
Good heavens, I wanted all who came to have a good experience…but I was particularly mindful of those who came out of the goodness of their hearts primarily to support me. I really, REALLY wanted them to have a good experience….and I believe they did.
The women at the Church Women United meeting truly UNITED and it was a fabulous experience.
Cute Ashton Koford King, whom I met only a month ago and who served an LDS mission in the Philippines, drove up from Provo to help me. She brought artifacts from her mission and said the opening prayer in Tagalog—beautiful! Two sisters from Carol’s Catholic congregation, both native Filipinos, came wearing authentic dress and bearing authentic food (eggroll-looking pastries filled with ripe banana and Jack fruit—YUM!). They exchanged numbers with Ashton, promising to keep in touch. Kate told Ashton about a young Filipino mother in her congregation who is feeling lonely and isolated. After the luncheon Ashton and Stasie (Ashton’s sweet step mother and my genuine friend) followed Kate to the young mother’s home. I am eager to hear the rest of that story.
My dear family united to help me. Grace ran errands for me before (“Sharpen this pencil for me in the library, would you?), during (“Please go take the signs off the doors so the people coming to help with the funeral dinner don’t get stressed”) and after (Go put ice and water in the jugs—RUN!) the meeting. My darling mother came—she started supporting me before I turned 2 and has never stopped; I’m 52 now and she is still “in my corner”. My sweet and stalwart cousin, Elizabeth Hugh, came as well. “Can anyone come to the meeting?” she texted me. YES PLEASE DO!
Elaine Hansen, who is not in my ward and who does not owe me any favors, took time out of her day to play the piano for the program, fitting it into a schedule that was already filled with plans for a trip to Price to attend a grandchild’s baby blessing. “You’re my friend,” she said in explanation, as if that were a good enough reason to justify my theft of her Saturday morning…which apparently it was.
Thank you Elaine for being my friend. Thank you Elizabeth, Michelle (who brought her famous homemade bread and freezer jam and chili and led the singing!), Patty, Sandy, Grace, Ashton, Stacie, and Mom for being my friends.
And thank you to my Church Women United sisters, women whose friendships have become very precious to me: Pam whose tough Navy exterior shields an incredible tender heart; Reverend Lille whose love for Christ warms everyone with whom she speaks; gracious Helen and energetic, enthusiastic Kate; kind and caring (and organized and efficient) Carol; Jennie with her beautiful voice and equally beautiful character; Terry whose quiet demeanor conceals a reservoir of strength. Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, members from the Community of Christ and Alpine Church, Mormons—sisters in Christ, all of us. Church Women UNITED, indeed!
I guess I’ll volunteer to host another meeting again next year……
NOTE: A special thanks to Bishop Scott Bradford of the Roy 14th Ward for his willingness to open the doors of our church to Christ’s daughters from all denominations and for his wisdom in making it work.