Today at church our bishopric was released. After 2 ½ years of being a counselor, I find myself with a huge drop in responsibility, a drastic rise in free time, and a bittersweet ache in my heart. It’s sentimental and it’s melancholy. Call it sentimentacholy.
I didn’t see this coming. My first reaction when I found out about this last night was profound sadness. As I explained in church this morning, I deeply loved serving with everybody in my church and I’ll miss it terribly. And of course, I feel that I left too much undone.
Here’s what I’ll miss: doing temple recommend interviews, hanging around joint activities at Mutual, being the first person to bring a welcome spiritual message to the home of someone who hasn’t been to church for years, giving priesthood blessings to people with no other access to the priesthood, powerful monthly meetings with the stake presidency, taking the youth to the temple for baptisms, giving the bishopric message in Primary, giving treats to the youth for catching me without my scriptures and having their copies of For the Strength of Youth, trying to set a visible example of obedience to our leaders, sitting in on disciplinary councils (a surprisingly spiritual experience–always positive for everyone involved), being able to give useful information to auxiliary leaders about their work, and just getting to know the real lives of dozens of the best families anybody could ever meet–especially the overwhelming acts of service and sacrifice for each other that I never would have known about were I not in this position.
Here’s what I won’t miss: planning sacrament meetings (a tedious pain in the neck, and by far the most thankless part of the job), planning callings and releases (inspiration for this is very real, but I often didn’t feel in tune enough with the Spirit to be as confident about it as I should have), extending callings (surprisingly often a negative experience–very sad), counting tithes and offerings (this was actually the other counselor’s job, but the half dozen or so times I filled in were still too many–what an irritating job), and did I mention planning sacrament meetings? Just thinking about it now still gives me shivers.
What did I get out of this calling? More than anything else, I have a solid witness that God knows, loves, and watches over his children. Leaps of faith are rewarded, and usually very quickly. He will heal broken hearts that are brought to his feet. Most of us will never know just how much quiet suffering is going on inside the homes of our friends, but it’s everywhere, and it does pass. Miracles happen when we have faith. Most of us are doing the best we know how to do.
So now what? I can’t help but think that this release is timed as it is for a reason–the day before school starts. I want to use my new “freedom” to do my best teaching ever this year, and to raise my family the best I can. I want to enjoy all the little things I haven’t made time for–I’m already planning to re-draft an old essay that’s been almost ready for publication for years. I want to go back to my own spiritual basics and study more on Sunday, and build my discipleship outside of assignments.
And, of course, I look forward to actually seeing my family on Sundays–no more ten hour Sunday shifts! Woo hoo! Suddenly, I feel a lot better.