Now I get to Saturday...just so am not sure how I feel about this portion altho I will say, waiting and letting the steam dissipate helped. I have this new calling...bizarro in my opinion. I am now the Stake Employment Specialist. That term, 'Specialist' give me the heebie jeebies. PLUS I am not fond of stake callings. These callings all seem so inflated and hoity toity. When to me all they seem to be is busy work. So anyway...I got this calling which only means I am to make sure the WARD specialists are doing their duties, or are trained, or are working with the ward councils. And honestly, it's only on the ward level that changes actually are seen. The President told me that I got the calling because no one else has done the calling in the past so apparently I will.
I started immediately by sending out emails to get updated info...and of course, only 2 of the 7 units even have a ward specialist. This past Saturday I sent out emails to bishops/specialists with info on the webinar and the training conference in March. I also encouraged them all to be safe, keep warm and if they were shoveling, to be sure and clearn out the fire hydrants around their home, suggesting it might save some lives as well maybe produce some job leads by grateful neighbors. I even included a picture with a message (to make it girlie) but truly because it's what we all need to learn, to do, and to encourage others. ME IN PARTICULAR!
And for my family who these blog posts are intended, you know that if I'm attacking THE WORLD WILL KNOW IT AND "THERE WILL BE BLOOD TONIGHT" (reference Princess Bride). It took me a good 2 days to get over this. Finally I just decided I didn't care and it wasn't worth the angst.
I had about a 3 hours chat by phone with Diane Pepin on the east coast. it was the best 3 hours I've spent in a long time. We laughed and remembered and shared info. She was a bit sad at one point and I tried to get her mind off the topic by telling her about the stake calling/incident mentioned above. Suddenly she's laughing through her tears and says, "Susan, Everyone needs a Bitch..and that's you." Then I started laughing. I wrote it down next to my desk to remind myself. If the soul purpose of me having this calling is to be a thorn in the sides of each bishop so they get a ward specialist than that's what I will do. Bitch or not. I'm going with Bitch!
Sunday dawned bright and frigid. Crazy winter! I was still fussing inside my head but by the time Nila Eddington presented an amazing lesson in RS I had overcome myself and the world! Here's Nilasari who is from Indonesia, married to a Blackfood, ID man/Harvard lawyer. She homeschooled her kids 'forever' til she herself got ill so now only does it til 3rd or 4th grade. I have given 4 of her 5 children piano lessons for what seems like years. They are gifted kids in their own ways. Hyrum is finishing up his first year at BYU and will then leave for a mission (he had skipped a grade or two of school so he could attend college while he aged to 18. Next comes Sam who along with Tiara are my favorites. Then there's James who hates to play the piano and knows it all and then young Jonathan who dislikes Primary so he stays with Nila. What we get out of sweet Nila is enough to feed me for days.
I am sure that at least one of the sisters in the room freaked out when she saw me snap this picture and I don't care. Truthfully she's all about rules and laws but certainly excuses herself from most of them. Me? I don't care. This was not Sacrament Mtg. It was not the chapel and Nila said she was ok with my blogging about her and her lesson.
So getting to the lesson, which was "Lord, Is It I?" from October's General Conference...Nila put up a piece of paper that said:
IS IT I?
IS IT ME?
And she spent a second or two wondering about the wording but promised us she'd get back to this and she did. Toward the end of the lesson, she reminded us how English was a second language for her and she worked so hard at learning the grammar. "I" is a subjective pronoun, she said. "ME" is an objective pronoun. And as she pondered on this (truly who ponders over pronouns...not me but thankfully Nila did) she said she realized that as a subject, "I", becomes personal, a person...and I can only change myself. We cannot ever change an object. It is what is it. Period. But we can change ourselves. We can make certain that we are doing all we can to follow Christ. (how cool was this thought?)
Then she put up another piece of paper that said:
HERE I AM!
I AM HERE!
She said she learned this from Rebecca Stay..that Hineni meant, either when young Samuel heard his call or when Abraham, about to sacrifice Isaac, answers the Lord...I am ready to do what you want.
I decided to look up more information on this word because Nila's lesson's end was meant only for me on Sunday. I was struggling and mad. I look too much for perfection and strive too hard for it myself. But here was this humble and wonderful woman who learned English as a 2nd language and there she stood speaking the words the Lord wanted me to hear. I needed to read more.
From Shir Heharim In Judaism, big ideas often come in small words. Many of us might be familiar with the word Shalom. It means, among other things, hello, goodbye, and peace. In the Torah reading tomorrow, another word stands out. We encounter it when God first turns to Abraham and asks him to take his son Isaac to the top of the Mountain. We encounter it when Isaac turns to his father and asks him where the sacrificial offering is. And we encounter it at the top of the mountain, when the angel of God stops Abraham and tells him not to strike his son. The word is Hineni. …Here I Am.
Every time Abraham says Hineni, here I am, he is confronted with the the challenges and temptations--each of us faces. Each Hineni is like an arrow, pointing upward to God and inward to ourselves.
As I studied this word, "hineni ," I discovered that is repeated twenty-two times in the Hebrew Bible. It reflects our ancestor's readiness to do God's work, to take up whatever task was theirs. The word "hineni" appears four times in the story of the Binding of Isaac and five more times in the stories of Jacob, Esau and Joseph. In each instance the word connotes something more than mere physical presence. "Hineni" means that "I am here with all of my being, physically and spiritually, ready to do what I need to do and fully present in the moment."
According to biblical scholars, child sacrifice was practiced by other ancient near eastern religions of the time. By asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and then stopping him, God may have been teaching that this new religion, Judaism, would not follow this practice.
Be that as it may, our focus in modern times is different. We are not focusing on what Abraham was asked to do. We are looking at how he responded. We are looking at Abraham’s development, not the legitimacy of the test he was asked to undertake. That development begins with Abraham’s answer to God's opening question “Ayekah--where are you? God asks. "Hineni," Abraham answers. Here I am. God was not asking a mere geographical question. God knew Abraham’s physical location. Rather, God was asking a spiritual question. Ayekah, "Where are you on your life's journey? Are you ready for a new and extraordinary challenge?” Abraham could have answered differently. Isaac was the fulfillment of his dream, the son he had prayed for. The question God asked likely filled him with fear. Yet, despite his fear, Abraham answered, "Hineni. Here I am.”
At some point in our lives, we have all been Abraham. We have faced tremendous challenges and difficult choices. Perhaps we had gotten comfortable with life. Perhaps we had achieved something we longed for. In the case of Abraham, he had finally gotten the son he prayed for. Yet, for Abraham, as for all of us, something happens. Our plans are changed. Our path takes an unexpected turn. We face challenges we could not have imagined.
Saying Hineni for ourselves is the first step. As Rabbi Hillel famously said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" Yet, another question follows: "If I am only for myself, what am I?" Life gains meaning only when we begin living for something larger than ourselves. Reaching this state takes time. Some people may never get there. Yet, we must try. Abraham does. On their journey up the mountain Isaac turns to his father and says, "Abah, Father,” and Abraham answers “Hineni Beni, here I am my son.” I am with you. Things may not seem right. I am frustrated and afraid. Our future looks uncertain. But Hineni, I am here with you.
Following this road, we arrive at our final scene. Abraham and Isaac have reached the peak of the mountain. Isaac is bound to two pieces of wood. Abraham has his knife raised. Suddenly, an angel cries, “Abraham, Abraham.” The angel said Abraham's name twice out of a sense of urgency. The angel needed to get Abraham's attention before he let the knife fall. Abraham, Abraham, stop. Listen. Pause. You have become so bound up in your task that you cannot listen or hear anything or anyone else. Step back.
It worked. “Hineni,” Abraham answers, I am here. I am aware. I am fully present. This Hineni is one of intense feeling and recognition. It is as if Abraham awakens from a stupor and comes to a new appreciation of the fragility of life.
This awakening can also happen to us. When we go through times of pain, of trauma--in our work, in our family, in our mental or physical health--we can lose touch with reality. We can fall into an emotional stupor. In fact, an angel can be an ordinary individual who, without even realizing it, brings a divine scheme to fruition.
This is who Nila was for my on Sunday and I am ever so grateful for her. What she taught me calmed my anguish and lead me to a better understanding of myself. I went home so much more happier than I had the whole weekend!
JK Simmons won an Oscar for his film Whiplash and in his speech he encouraged to everyone if they can, to call their moms...not text, not skype....to pick up the phones and call. I think it's great advice. I am grateful when my kids call. I don't even mind the skyping/face times. I just so love my kids..I just so want to keep in contact with them one way or another.
It's Monday now and I have Skyped with Dawn as she tried to walk me through installing the double sided tape into the ATG700 gun...finally I figured out that the whole new roll was wound backwards. Plus we chatted on and off. Then I got a text from Hillary who needs help with her sewing machine. So we facetimed and hopefully we will correct the problem. It's been lovely. Last night I got a text from Jocelyn, updating her floor rehab problem. It was all wonderful. Now if only I could Skype with my mom!
But life is good....altho I've decided I am not good at piecing a quilt top together. I've been working on this one square all morning and it's still not right and the first square is not correct sizewise. Oh joy...that means I'll have to take it all apart. But my bestie, the Petite Frite Diane Pepin told me to plow on and just do it and so I shall. Well, that's my blog post today. Life is wonderful. Everything is AWESOME...socks, ants, bugs, wind chill, friends, crazy ol' men, sewing machines, tissues, TP, Evan who knows how to unclog a toilet, that's enough for now.