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Sep. 29th, 2008 at 10:36 am
As I’ve shared, I’ve been almost virtually inactive since the middle of March, due to a work schedule. I met with my new bishop the first few weeks I was in the ward and sent in my tithing, but didn’t attend meetings. I was given a visiting teaching route after three months and enjoyed my companion and the ladies. I was also assigned visiting teachers. I’d met one of them on the first of the three times I attended sacrament meeting in that ward, but didn’t remember her well. The other I never met at all until the day I moved out of the ward.
They tried to come, but our schedules always conflicted and I was going back and forth between my homes in Enoch and Parowan as Bill and I attempted to negotiate the problems in our relationship. I spoke at length to Shaleen and told her some about my current dilemma; Venette, not at all. I think my first contact with Venette happened when I thought I’d left a box of pictures on my porch and after trying a couple other numbers, called her home. She wasn’t home but her husband was and he was gracious and said he’d run right over and see if I had left the pictures out and put them in my storage shed. He offered to help me move at that time.
It was kind of a funny conversation, “Venette and I’ve never met, but she’s my visiting teacher and could you go over to my house and see if I left something on the porch?” (I do this sort of thing all of the time now that I’m aging.)
I decided to make their acquaintance before I left, so I asked them to come help me pack up my china dishes and kitchen stuff. I really just wanted them to come over. I wanted them to see pictures of my family, my books, and know that I was a worthwhile person. A post on MM just before that visited alerted me to the possibility that they’d be nervous about the amount of work entailed and I laughed to myself as I baked some rolls and set out the fruit and punch and chocolate.
I had my ducks in a row with the moving and could have done all that myself, but it turned out they were tremendously helpful in wrapping all the little “fragiles” in paper, which takes some time. Bill was to come a few hours later, and I called Venette that morning to confirm. I asked if her husband could help him move my bed, computer desk, and dresser out and she indicated that it would be helpful if bill could come right away as her husband had some plans for later. I said, “Well, I’ll ask him. He usually has a hangover in the morning and it takes an hour and several cups of coffee before he wakes up and can walk straight.”
She answered seriously, “Okay, we’ll do what we can.” Of course I laughed and told her I was joking, but I could tell she was still concerned.
At any rate, Bill came earlier (Now, you guys, Bill would drive a sane woman crazy and we all know that sanity isn’t my best thing. When I called him, at 9 am, the day he was supposed to help me move, he became a bit flustered and said, “Well, I don’t know if I can break away, I’m right in the middle of breakfast and I need to pay my bills and I need to do the laundry!” I said, “Well, eat, forget the bills for today and I’ll do the laundry.” He said, “But I have clothes in the dryer and I have to get them out when they’re dry and put the other clothes in to dry!” I laughed out loud and said, “I”ll do the laundry.” And he rather reluctantly put away the thought of folding the towels before he left the house. I did not make this up)
Venette came before Shaline and I said, “You look so familiar!” and she agreed but we couldn’t remember where we’d met. While our husbands were busy moving the furniture, we had such a nice visit. I poured out my heart to her and she was kind and understanding and encouraging and totally non-judgmental. I did show her my pictures of my family. Shaleen arrived and seemed a bit disconcerted, but pitched in, as she shared her loneliness because her husband was gone (to the Ukraine for a national guard deal) and her concern about her 14 year old daughter.
At one point in our conversation, I stopped and looked at Venette and said, “wait a minute, do you have a son named Chance? (name changed)” And she said, “Yes!”
And I realized where we’d met. Her son was married to one of my daughter’s friends, a neighbor girl who had been molested by the young man who’d gone to jail in 2006. As soon as I told Venette who I was (we’d met when I helped at the wedding, I’d known her daughter-in-law since she was an infant), a light went on and it became more clear to her what I’d gone through the last two years. Her poor little daughter-in-law had suffered like the rest of the girls and been the object of ridicule and open scorn and cruelty from the abuser’s family, just like the rest of us.
Over and over in our conversation, Shaleen shared how much she missed her husband, I began to laugh and said, “This is like high school when a girl has a crush on a boy and can only talk about that boy!” I meant it affectionately and we gave her hugs as she wept and I told her how wonderful it was that she loved her husband so much after 20 odd years of marriage.
I crammed six months of visits in that final and first visiting teaching visit. I’ve always had a strong testimony of the power of the sisterhood and the life changing experiences visiting teaching can bring into our lives. Although I’d never attended church or had an official visit, I carried their phone numbers in my back pocket the whole six months I was in that ward. I wouldn’t have been receptive to a lot of visits nor could I have handled any great emotional demands with what I was going through. What I did get from them was perfectly timed and filled my well in so many ways.
There is no “one size fits all” in today’s visiting teaching situations. I often say that changes need to be made to reflect society today with most women working and living hugely busy lives. Perhaps the biggest change that needs to be made is in our attitudes and expectations. If you feel loved, if you feel included, if you feel you have somewhere to turn when the chips are down and the women you turn to have faith in God to share with you, that is perfection in the program which reflects perfection in motive and emphasis on the individual, who is most beloved of God. That’s visiting teaching today.
What a lovely visit we had.