A LOVE LETTER TO MY WARD

Today’s post comes from Eliana Osborne, who lives in the desert with her husband and two young sons.  She’s a freelance writer specializing in health and adjunct English faculty at Arizona Western College.  She loves to travel instead of doing needed home repairs, and thinks a brownie is the perfect breakfast.

Last October marked ten years we’ve been together.  How long ago it seems as we moved our few belongings into our first home on a dark Halloween night.  That first Sunday I bravely told a member of the bishopric that we need callings. Because after a year of renting, our first year of marriage, when we mostly did a lot of sacrament meeting attendance, I know this about us.  We need some motivation.

You aren’t the best looking ward.  The original one in our town, your boundaries shift from time to time as people die off. New neighborhoods are built, suburbs expand, but your core remains true.  The few families remaining who remember fifty years ago, building the chapel. You don’t have much money or missionaries.  But you have heart.

You encircled us in our oddities and embraced my pretentious maiden name keeping self.  You thought I was a bit crazy but loved me nonetheless. You rarely asked when the children would be coming and hugged me when I told you they wouldn’t be.  When I finally did get pregnant, you rejoiced as much as any blood relation.  You made me furniture, threw a party, even brought second gifts after the baby wasn’t the girl we had been told to expect.

You gave me someone to sit with, told me not to worry about the baby sounds in sacrament meeting. You told me not to worry about the baby weight, that it took nine months to put on.  Told me I was doing a good job.  You gave me people to ask about rashes and sudden fevers.  You noticed when I looked tired, invited me into the playgroups I had disdained.  You gave me adult contact after I quit my job and thought I might go insane.

I’ve been responsible to teach so many of you dear ward: teenage Sunday school, those endless four years of gospel doctrine, teacher preparation class, Beehives, Relief Society. You helped me learn the scriptures.  You gave me a chance to reflect on what I believe.  My testimony grew and grows as I share it with you.  Thank you so much for that.

Dear ward, the potlucks are interminable.  It isn’t wrong to cook good food.  It is unfortunate you have so little musical talent.  If only the air conditioning had a setting other than frozen.  Some of you wear my patience to no end with your self-righteous knowledge of ancient Hebrew customs that just happens to come up in casual conversation.  But you are part of me, the part I try to hide.

Ward, you’ve changed as I have changed.  There are young families now and I am one of the old timers.  I’ve grown up with you.  I’ve learned how to be a Saint with your help.

Thank you for the opportunities to serve.  The chances to forgive.  The chances to look for the best.  Thank you for the leaders who have loved me, welcomed me.  Thank you for never making me think I had to choose between believing and being myself.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a break up.  I’m not planning on going anywhere.  I’ve just been thinking about how much you mean to me and thought I ought to let you know.

Love,

Eliana

10 thoughts on “A LOVE LETTER TO MY WARD

  1. What a wonderful to your Ward with its strengths and its weaknesses-like all other Wards. I am so glad you appreciate it and it appreciates you. Love from your Grandmother Hanni

  2. I ♥ my ward too. We’ve only been here 4.75 years, but it’s the best ward ever. In fact, when I came house hunting, the previous owners were LDS and they said to me “No matter how great a ward we end up in, it’ll never be as awesome as this ward.” So I started secretly thinking the prophet lived in the ward or something, and that it wasn’t something anyone would tell you just to respect his privacy. But nope…just a ward filled with the salt of the earth like good people everywhere. Still, it’s been like balm to my soul to be here. I could totally relate to your love letter.

  3. I relate too. It’s good to be surrounded by people who really get what it means to live the gospel. Thanks for helping me freshly appreciate the everyday goodness in my own ward.

  4. We’ve only lived in our ward for a little over a year, but it is great for the same reasons. We’d moved around for a bit before this and I never really felt like I ‘clicked’ with my last few wards. Hopefully in a few years I can still write a letter like this to my ward.

  5. What a charming letter. I find myself composing one to my own right now…but it’s probably not fit for publication just yet.

  6. Great post! Great ward. It’s great being a place long enough to grow, to forgive, to be forgiven, to be loved and love

  7. Thanks for this. We have a similar history with our ward, the same sort of love-hate-gratitude feelings over 10 years or so. Your post helped me remember that the good outweighs the bad in this ward that has carried me through four babies, three ward splits, and lots of callings, “never making me think I had to choose between believing and being myself.”

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