Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

This is what church can be like

I had a really fantastic time at church on Friday. That has happened all of a handful of times since we moved here in 2010. I love being a Mormon, and I always appreciate church on some level, but it is often hard work, depending on your calling (=volunteer position at church). Until recently, I was in charge of the Primary (children's) class and it was two hours (out of three) of being ON. Depending on who did and did not show up, I sometimes ran the thing by myself as a kind of all-in-one teacher, music leader, and accompanist. When church was over, I needed to decompress in order to gear myself up for doing it all over again the next week. It wasn't unrewarding work, but make no mistake: it was work. Church for me was not a restful, worshipful experience. I spent more time filling the lamps of others (usually small, irreverent, misbehaving others) than I did sitting back and letting the light of the gospel and the testimonies of my co-congregants fill my own. What spiritually sustaining moments I had were snatched from a sentence or two of a talk heard there, a beautiful moment in Primary here, and my own study during the week.

My callings now are to play the piano in Sacrament Meeting (the first hour) and Relief Society (the women's meeting during third hour). I know God loves me because these callings are like a "well done thou good and faithful servant" reward to me after years of toil in the Primary. I love playing the piano at church and even though I am currently playing two out of the three hours, and even though I just got out of heavy-duty service in the Primary, I proclaim to you now that I would gladly play during the second hour in Primary, too, and thank you for it. Everyone has their own language of worship and mine is music.

On Friday, then, I played the piano during first hour. I timed Sterling's nursing session just right so that it came between hymns and neither he nor I was rushed. He slept in my arms during second hour and I actually got to sit and listen to a well-prepared Sunday School lesson and the insightful comments of my fellow attendees. During the third hour, Sterling sat in the empty arms of a woman whose own 5-month-old baby is away from her in her home country, leaving my very full arms free to play the piano. The lesson was a thoughtful one about Faith in Jesus Christ, taught by a darn fine woman with no nonsense about her.

When church was over, I was tired, hungry, a little dehydrated, and ready to go home, yes, but I was also edified, uplifted, unfrazzled, and content with my spiritual experience that day. I know not every Sabbath will be like this last one, but this Friday was enough to remind me why I go to church, and it will keep me going there for a while yet.

Spelling homework FAIL

March 7th, outsourced