last week bossman asked when i was going to take over the new ward. specifically, the young women. he clearly sees teaching the 9-year old sunday school class as a demotion. and to be honest, i may have felt that way last year when i received that new calling. but i don’t feel that way any more. my little class is hysterical.
however, bossman does feel i am not doing my duty now that i only attend church on sundays. “what about wednesday nights!?” he asked worriedly. i assured him that both my youth in seattle and the youth in maple valley are in good hands.
bossman was pleased to hear that i was asked to speak to the young women recently. he took this as a good sign. maybe i could worm my way back into that job.
i thought the topic was timely. or maybe ironic is a better qualifier: finding joy in our divine potential. more specifically, i was to express my joy of womanhood that i am currently experiencing. right now. this very moment.
the idea made me laugh. and then i got nervous. am i experiencing any joy right now? in this very moment? i wasn’t sure.
three of us would be speaking. by virtue of looking 24, and not having kids, i was to be representative of the young married woman.
i certainly didn’t want to be debbie downer and i did not want to be disingenuous when talking to the young women. but i also feel we do not do a good job of equipping our youth with reality.
remember who you are! be good! choose the right! get married in the temple! you’ll be blessed! we say. but then, as we all know, life happens.
depending on circumstances, many financial, we may not be able to participate in the activity we want or go to the school we want. in spite of all our studying, we may not do well on an exam. relationships can be damaged or crumble or may never materialize. despite our best efforts, we may not find a steady, secure job after graduation for months or even years. we may have to give up our dream career for something much better. we may struggle through something we don’t necessarily love doing. even though we feel we are doing everything right, we may feel stagnant, stuck, lost. disasters, disease, abuse, accidents, handicaps, death, happen. ultimately, no matter how we plan, things do not always go according to that plan.
and yet, through the struggle comes light. it’s just not always the blessings or timing we think of at 16.
i walked them through my high school, college, mission and life after graduation. i wanted them to know that the decisions i made when i was their age were pivotal. they gave me a firm foundation to stand on. i told them about being almost 29 when i got married. yes, it was fun and fantastic and i had so many opportunities, but it was also hard. i told them that even if they are strong they will not be exempt from sorrow. i spoke to the fact that others may make bad decisions that negatively impact their lives, maybe some of them had already experienced this. but i promised them that if they are valiant in their testimonies of christ, no matter the heartbreak he will heal us.
i am currently seeking that succor. it comes in waves. some days are better than others. but i know it will come.
i finished with my favorite quote from president hinckley. i sat in the marriott center as he gave this speech:
you are good. but it is not enough just to be good. you must be good for something. you must contribute good to the world. the world must be a better place for your presence. and the good that is in you must be spread to others (stand up for truth, 17 september 1996).
this morning, i found a poem i wish i would have shared:
i will go forward… when the billows of change encompass me — when its surges dash furiously, and the foam thereof is nigh unto overwhelming, thy power will sustain me. i will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance. when the clouds of uncertainty gather upon the horizon, darker than the shades of midnight, when distrust is raising its standard over ‘the broad field of expectation, thy word will dissipate every obstruction, and the testimony of jesus ” will light up a lamp that will guide my vision through the portals of immortality (eliza r. snow, “the lord is my trust,” poems, religious, historical, and political, vol. 1 (1856), 148–49).