Today’s guest poster has requested to remain anonymous. Sometimes she feels the need to do this when writing about sensitive subjects, in order to protect the privacy of others. Today she does so mostly just to save her own face. Thanks “Name Withheld.”
Recently I got called into the bishop’s office. I’ve warned the ward clerk to please not give me an entire day to wonder and worry. “Five minute’s notice is good for me,” I said. But it was Saturday and he made the appointment for just before church the next day. I had just gotten a new calling, so I knew it wasn’t that. I doubted they needed us to speak in Sacrament Meeting again already. What could it be? I never imagined it would be in order to get called on the carpet.
A couple of my teenage kids have been struggling. Another of them is just female, hormonal and hypercritical of her mother (note to self: Never ever judge a woman through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter). So the bishop (who I might add, was well-meaning and sincere) was concerned. “I feel like my family is falling apart,” one of the kids had apparently said.
Great. It was all I could do not to fall apart myself right there in the bishop’s office. I had been feeling the exact same thing for months. The attack of the adversary on my family had been tangible. We weren’t simply falling apart. We were being torn apart. (And some of the kids were assisting with the tearing.) My feeble efforts to keep everything and everyone together seemed futile. My mother-heart was so desperate there had been times in recent weeks when I had wanted to go to my bishop and plead for help myself.
Now I felt it was all somehow all my fault. All I could do was nod. I understand your concern. We’ll do our best. Thanks. Goodbye.
We left the bishop’s office and went directly in to the chapel for sacrament meeting. I’m not usually a crier, but I didn’t even make it through the opening prayer before sobs threatened to overtake me. I bolted before the last amen. I needed solitude, not a congregation. I sought solace. I guess what I really wanted was for someone to reassure me that everything would be OK. But no one was home. They were all gathered together in the warmth of the chapel. I found myself with no one to turn to.
I went home and cried and prayed myself to sleep. Then I woke up, smoothed my crumpled skirt, reapplied the mascara, and willed myself back to church in time for Relief Society. It was insult to injury that no one had even seemed to notice I had left.
Later that evening we had to attend a gathering at the home of a family member. By the time we arrived, I noticed there was a remarkable difference in the spirit of my family. Everyone was getting along. They were kind to each other. The kids played and joked together and had a good time. Our unity was so palpable, extended family members noticed and commented on it. The happy-family-ness lasted through the entire ride home. (But of course it didn’t last forever. Real life can be a roller coaster and I am in the middle of one heck of a ride.)
It’s likely everyone else who noticed what happened that night thought it was completely random. The stars aligned and we had a good moment.
But I knew better. It was an answer to a prayer. God knew I needed a little encouragement in order to keep trying. He knew I needed to have a little hope. I had been longing for some sort of sign that everything would be OK. And, because he is my loving Heavenly Father and he wants our family to succeed, God gave it to me. I recognized it for what it was and was deeply grateful.
What signs do you see in your life? Do you, like me, notice and appreciate the complete non-randomness of them?