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.