Yesterday morning I finished my cub scouts training. I am now finally fully trained (now, all I need to do is finish that pesky registration.) I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about things as I got there this morning, given the all-over-the-place feelings I’ve had lately, but I was happy to get to know Rob and Gretta (our new wolf leaders) finally, and happy to finish up my training. Turns out my leader specific training consisted of two trainers and one student. They were able to make it a truly leader specific class and I was able to interject and ask all the questions I wanted. It was GREAT!
I left still not sure of my future, but with a testimony of cub scouts. I get it. I know why the church is such a major chartered organization of the BSA. I get why it’s so important for the boys and their families to get involved. As someone involved in the Girl Guides of Canada for so long, and married to an Eagle Scout, I can’t say we bleed for Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, but I can say that Scouting is not reallyoptional in our family. I am so glad to start my BSA training so early, to ensure that I can be the best scout-mother for my boys.
After a short break with my family I dashed on up the hill for the yearly broadcast for our women’s association. I listened to each of the talks by the Relief Society presidency and thought, “yes, true, we need to do more service, yes, visiting teaching is important, yes, we need to go to the temple.” I wasn’t exactly feeling like my emotional well was being filled, I just felt like I was getting more reminders of all the demands on my time. Finally President Uchtdorf spoke, and mingled with his light wit, he spoke directly to me, to all the overworked, frustrated, overwhelmed, and hurting women in the congregation; he spoke to all of us.
He’s been a favourite in our family since the beginning. Paul has known him since his mission, and was tickeld to see Elder Uchtdorf wear the tie Paul and his fellow missionaries had given him all those years ago, the day he was sustained as an apostle. He always has something to say that speaks to us, and this was no different.
The thing about last night’s talk that sparked my interest, was that he gets it. I haven’t been feeling that from my leaders, and was so relieved to hear it from an apostle of the Lord. What kept my attention was that he detailed how to work through feelings or burden or pain. He didn’t say “just snap out of it” because he recognized that there is no on/off switch. He spoke of two very important tools:
Creation: Take matter unformed and make something new. You don’t need to be a great artist or hold a tune in a bucket to be creative. You can make a harmonious home. You can create learning environments for your children. You can plant a garden. He went on and on, touching on something that everyone could do.
Compassion: Love people. Share your time and energy with them. Listen to them. Do something to create joy in their lives. Your compassion will bless others and uplift yourself.
I have very carefully structured my life for success and happiness. I spend a great deal of energy on a daily basis creating a loving, supportive, learning environment for my boys, for the other children in my care, and for my friend’s children. I work very hard to establish positive relationships with them individually. I try to perform acts of compassion or service at least once a day. I try to beautify my home. I make projects, because I can knit, crochet, sew, albeit at a basic level, but I use those skills to make beautiful things, which uplift me and others. All this makes me happy, and I have structured my life around doing as many of these things as I can every day, in order to make the world better, and make myself happy.
His talk was well-timed; it came at a time when I have been feeling that fulfilling my church calling was more like kicking against the pricks. Despite all the efforts I was making to be happy, improve the world, and bring joy, I was so burdened by the things which were increasingly taking me away from my heart, and not helping at all. The feelings of inadequacy that I was habouring as a result of my work never being enough, the feelings of pain I had felt from being harshly criticized of my decisions, and the feelings of frustration I felt from the execution of my church responsibilities being so in conflict with what I knew to be right, all came to the surface.
I can’t say that my emotional well was filled in one ten-minute talk. I can’t say that all of my problems and pain melted away. But I felt better, lighter, knowing that an apostle of the Lord places his priorities where I had chosen to place mine. As I continue to focus on what I know to be right, and what I know to make a difference, the other things will come into place or fall away. I don’t need the conflict, and I don’t deserve those bad feelings. I know how to be happy, and I choose, once again, to actively seek true happiness in my life.