Sunday, September 19, 2004

I Broke an Unwritten Mormon Rule....Credibility Possibly Shot Forever 

by Karen
I have to say, I'm approaching the Sabbath with a bitter- sweet kind of feeling. Tomorrow I'm getting released from being the gospel doctrine teacher. I always pictured myself as the "smile and agree to serve" kind of gal....no matter if it was nursery, homemaking, or ward librarian. But when I got called into chat with the first counselor a couple of weeks ago, he told me that they had another calling in mind for me and what did I think about being released from teaching gospel doctrine. I started crying. Yep. Right there in the coat closet we were meeting in. I sort of plastered on a fake smile and said "I'm happy to serve wherever I'm needed" and made a beeline for the bathroom where the sobbing started in earnest. Let's just say I'm embarrassed. About the whole crying in the bathroom thing....oh and crying in the car in the parking lot, oh, and the choking up when talking with the person who I'm now replacing in my new calling. I'm even more embarrassed that this episode has resulted in the entire bishopric looking at me with soft, kind eyes and patting my arm whenever we talk.

So I needed to figure out why I was being such a big baby--because clearly this behavior cannot continue. And I have thought of a few reasons, but the ultimate one is that I love teaching gospel doctrine. It is the most spiritually fulfilling calling I've ever had. I love being the one that waits for the inspiration to pick out the topics that need to be discussed. I love presenting ideas in an unusual way and seeing people get excited in Sunday School. I love being forced to systematically study the scriptures. I love that I've taught for long enough that themes have started to emerge. Like every once in a while we have a "symbolism is fun" lesson, or a "scriptures as literature" lesson, and the class really digs it. I love that even though I'm naturally shy, I've been forced to get to know large numbers of people in my calling. Mostly, I love that I've had a spiritual renaissance that tracks with my teaching gospel doctrine ever since I graduated from law school. (A particularly tumultuous few years for me spiritually...) Finally, I'm currently going through some of the most seriously difficult few months I've ever faced in my life, and I love having the familiarity of a calling that I am comfortable and confident in.

Which is probably why I'm being released--comfort and confidence are not necessarily the adjectives related to spiritual growth. Apparently, I've had this calling longer than anyone else in the ward has had his/her calling, including the bishop. I don't think we get passes from necessary change just because we're happy where we are, or just because we think we need continuity, or just because we cry in front of people in power. So tomorrow will be bitter, because I'm being released, then teaching my last lesson. But also tomorrow will be sweet, because I'm being trusted to do something else. And sweet because I'm taking with me all my spiritual growth from the past few years. And sweet, because I'm not leaving the gospel behind, I'm just reapplying it. Kind of like mascara after a good cry...

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