As the new year begins, so do our stake's ward conferences. We have them lined up, back to back in January and February. Today we had 2...so altho it was a long day, it was a very interesting day because of the things that occurred. I feel the need to document these things for my own journal. Because I have been so exhausted living through and recovering from pneumonia, Kitty drove us to the Seven Hills' chapel. Being the education counselor in the stake RS I agreed to teach all the RS lessons, except that in my own ward since they hear me enough. So I really needed to go.
Cleveland ward was in the morning. Our stake's theme is Moroni 10:32. Good talks by the bishop and the stake president. RS was a lovely group of women. Some I knew, others were knew to me and if they raised their hands I'd ask for a name. One of the first women said her name was Effie. I paused, looked at her and asked, "Effie?" Truly how many Effies do you encounter in one lifetime? I asked her...do you know who I am? Nope. I told her I was Susan Center, giving her my maiden name. She gasped stood up and hugged me. We have known each other for so many decades, altho she is quite a bit younger than I.
For over a week, I have had this thought to begin the class by saying something about BLESSING these women for being there, for attending, etc. I hesitated because in our church we normally think about blessings coming through our priesthood leaders. Not that we women do not bless the lives of those we serve but we don't exactly utter that word. When the time came, I was still concerned but said it anyway, commenting that I know it's not the same as we think but I sure wanted to bless these women for who and what they are, for what they accomplish just be coming each Sunday. The lesson went well with so much great participation. The benefit of not reading the lesson word for word, relying on the class participation is that the same lesson can be given (as it was today in 2 wards) and be totally different. I have learned that sometimes you just go with what you feel because usually in those instances you are not in charge but are following some other path. Often I never know why. Sometimes I learn.
Afterwards, a woman came up to me to thank me for the lesson and to tell me what had transpired in her life that morning. Her husband is in the National Guard and this was his weekend to be away. She'd had a trying morning getting the kids ready, the house set, breakfast...you know...mom things. She sighed, deciding she might not attend church today because it would just be easier to stay home. She got in the shower and as she fussed over to go or not to go, she told me she heard these words: Go to church because today you will be blessed. So she got out, got ready, gathered the kids and came. She was just grateful for the 2nd witness that she was blessed this day for doing what she knew she needed to do.
It's so easy to have bad Sunday mornings when it is easier to stay home rather than fight the kids alone. But oh the blessing of being able to obey and be blessed. I am grateful to have been blessed to say those words in that ward (and no, I did not say those word in the afternoon...isn't that odd?)
Next came the Strongsville Ward at 1pm. By now I was done in...totally exhausted. I was sure I was just going to collapse. Sitting up was hard...really hard. I just wanted to melt over into the pew, have Kitty cover me with my long grey wool coat and snooze. But I didn't. Instead, I just lulled myself to a state of peace which took a lot of effort. My voice and throat are really weird and singing is not an option yet. But as I watched the 2 young priests break the bread I suddenly looked at their mouths and THEY WERE SINGING ALONG WITH THE SACRAMENT HYMN! and in case you didn't read this correctly, THEY WERE SINGING AS THEY BRAKE THE BREAD! Oh the moment! I sat there and marveled at these two, 16 year olds. I had that moment of pure joy and rejoicing. I knew that for whatever reason, because of whatever training they had had in their homes or quorums, they had internalized the moment of acting in Christ's stead.
Matt 26:26-30 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins....And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives (and a bit further He goes into Gethsemane and we know the rest of this incredible story of love sacrifice, crucifixion and resurrection and for me and my family, the joy of the restoration).
With the presidency in the 2nd hour, we held a quick meeting but as I entered the room, I just lay down on the floor...not ill, didn't need help, just needed to decompress or equalize or something. It felt so good and I was able to teach the next hour.
In that Relief Society as I said, I didn't use BLESS the same way but told the mom and the grandma of those 2 young men, how BLESSED I had been that day because I was there to witness that one pure moment.
Sometimes in a world and in marriages that are so far from perfect, we have to find those glorious moments, the ones we cling to so we can go one, live one more day, fight one more battle. We learn to NOT listen to the words that come out the mouths of those who the Adversary uses as his own. We learn to NOT be lead off the path we know has been set for us. I learn to be patient and to endure whatever comes our way, and not fuss about what we cannot, do not have, will never be. It's those moments I need to pay closer attention to, leaning forever on the Lord to get that understanding.