Today’s post comes from Debbie Haslam, who serves as a member of Segullah’s advertizing team.
For weeks prior to the special Stake meeting rumors were flying rampant in our stake. Everyone had their own idea of where the new boundary lines would be drawn and which ward they would be assigned. I spent a lot of time during those weeks leading up to the meeting speculating myself. How was this change going to affect my children? How would my husband react? How was I going to feel if things changed dramatically for us? Would I lose my calling as Young Women’s President? I even had a luncheon with several other women from my ward the week prior to the announcement. We each had our own thoughts and concerns about the changes. We shared opinions and frustrations over Mexican food and sodas.
On the day of the meeting my family sat in the foyer until some of our friends began to arrive and then we took our seats in the middle of the chapel, quietly waiting until the meeting began. I sat in the chapel holding my sweetheart’s hand and feeling the trepidation ooze through the pews. Anxiety came to a climax as our beloved stake president stood and began to describe to us -using a PowerPoint, a map of our city and street names -the new ward that was being added to our stake as well as the boundary changes that would be effective immediately. I saw to the right of me one sister walk out suddenly with tears in her eyes. I watched as others around me mumbled and whispered and cried as well. Even my own daughter had tears welling up in her eyes as she realized that she was the only active young woman from our “old” ward that had been moved into the new ward. My heart sunk as I tried to comfort her, no words worthy of speaking coming to my mind. Although the idea of attending a brand new ward was daunting to say the least, I was also excited about the possibilities, as well as the implications of this new change, but my excitement would not calm the troubled heart of a teenaged girl who felt like she was losing all of her friends.
The next day, I sat across the table from my good friend and discussed the changes. She too was upset about the changes and she said that it was already affecting her family. Her husband was angry and she knew of others in the stake who were also extremely frustrated about the announcement. Once again, I felt powerless and wordless. I couldn’t just comfort her with the silent hug that I had given my daughter the night before so I tried to sooth her by turning to the pioneers.
“Think of the early pioneers,” I said. “They were not just asked to shift ward boundaries around a bit and maybe have to attend church with new faces. They were asked to leave family and home, pack up everything and move across the country. They left businesses and farms. They were told to travel in horrible conditions. It’s a lot easier for us.”
She seemed quite offended by such a comparison. “It’s different.” She said. “Our lives are much different now.”
She was right, our lives are different now. So why is it so difficult for us to adjust to changes like ward boundaries? Is it a matter of faith? Do we need stronger faith? Faith like that of the pioneers as the trekked across the plains? Or that of Nephi who boldly stated, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded?” (1 Nephi 3:7) Was the Lord asking too much from the members of our stake? The more I talked to others, the more I wondered.
It’s been almost two months since the announcements were made. I still hear grumblings and rumors every once in a while, but things have seemed to settle down quite a bit. Most everyone has adjusted to their new ward, new callings and new friends. My children have also adjusted and have even gotten used to the extra 10 minutes it now takes to drive to seminary. My daughter-although the only active Laurel in our new ward- has made friends and seems to enjoy Wednesday night activities.
As I reflect back on that short conversation I had with my friend, I reason that my comparison was probably fairly accurate, as was her response. Maybe the ward boundary changes were a lot like what the pioneers experienced. Maybe, just like us, they were angry, sad, confused and frustrated by the direction they were given. The pioneers probably grumbled, griped and complained to one another about the demands placed upon them. But then they picked up their bootstraps and made sure that what was asked of them was accomplished. That is exactly what I am seeing taking place in my stake as well. The complaining is diminishing and the work of the Lord moves forward. What a blessing it is to be surrounded by faithful Latter-day Saints who know that the church is true and that even when the demands of the church may seem difficult, they are willing to move on, move forward and build up the kingdom of God together.