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Turf Wars, Talents and Spiritual Gifts

By Karen Austin

Photo by Royce Bair

In the last 30 years, I have been a member of about a dozen different wards.  With each move, I must establish new friendships and create a niche among my fellow saints. Church is a place for shared faith, but it is also a place where many perform a skill that may or may not be related to one’s professional training.  If it’s a skill that a sister does not use at work, this often makes church a particularly important venue for expressing that skill.

In each ward I’ve attended, I see sisters who are known for one of these skills: the sister who arranges the flowers at ward events, the sister who can cook for a crowd, the sister who sings solos, the sister who grows vegetables, and so on.  I admit that I often strive to establish the following identities: the sister who creates flyers, the sister who reads the most, and the sister who keeps good records.   If I move into a ward and another set of sisters occupy all three of these positions, I find myself in a panic. I don’t sing, I can’t decorate anything, and I don’t know how to cook for more than six people.  Yes, I want to be useful, but I also want to be unique.

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Puddles of Blossoms

With great pleasure we bring you this post by Deja Earley to kick-off our June UP CLOSE theme of Marriage MAKING IT WORK.  Deja lives outside Boston with her husband and three cats.  Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in places like Arts and Letters, Borderlands, and Poet Lore. She is poetry …

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