Primary

A week before Thanksgiving, I was asked to meet with our bishop in his office. A little explanation for my non-LDS friends: in our church, 'callings' or jobs that you do within the church organization, are extended to you by the bishop, which is our local-level leader. Bishops and other leaders are not paid; they have normal jobs on top of their church duties. Every job in the church is a calling, some big and time consuming, some small and less so. I  knew it was about a calling, and I was excited. I had been serving as the secretary for the Young Women organization for two years and felt stagnant in that calling (secretary is a weird calling like that - lots to do, not a lot of spirituality). I was ready for something new!

Alas, I should have known something was up when it was the bishop himself who wanted to meet with me, rather than just one of his counselors. At first he asked me if I was willing to serve anywhere the Lord asked me to serve. Uh-oh. Then he said he wanted to ask my husband something before he told me what the calling was, so he had David come in. David looked really freaked out. He asked David, "Will you support your wife in any calling the Lord would have her fulfill?" David mumbled something in the affirmative. Then he told me that the calling was to be the Primary president. (Again for non-LDS friends - Primary is the organization for children ages 18 months through 12 years, including their roughly 2-hour block of Sunday church meetings, as well as weeknight activities for 8-11 year old boys and girls.)


Oh boy. Well. I said yes, stupidly. (kidding) I had been praying for months, perhaps a year actually, for something new, because I was struggling with my previous calling. And always the answer came, "just keep on," or variations thereof - don't give up, keep doing it, so I did. Not always with a happy heart, I admit.

Because of holidays and travel, it was a couple of weeks before I and my newly-called counselors and secretary took center stage. It was nice to have a little prep time. But also a  hectic time to take over - all the children start new classes on January 1, and several children were/are moving, and several teachers were released. We have about 80 children in our Primary. The last ward I worked in Primary, we had about 30. And about 25 of those were under age six.

Now I've been in it full-swing for several weeks. I suppose at some point, I will stop coming home every week in tears. At least, I hope so. It's disheartening to see how many people are unwilling to help out in Primary, and hard not to internalize that when I'm the one making the phone calls and requests. It's hard to remember all the children's names and I worry that one will feel forgotten or unloved. I have repeated nightmares about it. In the most recent, as I stood up to do sharing time with them, every time I opened my mouth to speak, a wretched, raspy horse whinny escaped my lips. 

My favorite part - odd as this sounds - so far, is setting up the chairs beforehand. The room is so peaceful, and I actually have time to just look around and think clearly and plan things out. I took the above picture after I set up chairs the last time. 

I don't know why I have this calling, but I know it has to be one of those cases where I have the calling because I am the one who needs to learn from it, not because someone else needs me there. It doesn't help (or maybe it does, depending on how pessimistic I'm being) that the previous president was entirely beloved and has a tremendous gift for working with children. I struggle to love others' children. I love my own, of course, but others' children, I am indifferent about on a good day, and annoyed and short-tempered with on a bad day.

Comments

  1. You are doing a great job! I have been in a very similar situation but you are doing amazing!

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  2. Thanks Becky. You are so kind. I really do appreciate your cheerful attitude and willingness to serve those kids! I wish I could clone about four more of you. :)

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