Sunday, May 29, 2005

MAX: This May Be My Greatest Day Ever!

The State College Ward meets in an older LDS chapel. It's clearly been there awhile. The parking lot was full when we arrived, about ten minutes late, but there were other late comers straggling in. We followed them into the meeting room and I saw a stuffed-to-the-gills meeting hall. Memorial Day weekend. There were more visitors than usual. They were singing the hymn right before Sacrament so I wanted to find a seat and get settled so as not to miss that. It took me a few minutes to spy a spot, but tucked in the back left corner, the very last pew, there was a nearly empty row. I couldn't believe my luck. There weren't more than two spots together anywhere else in the hall. We squeezed in and settled down as the hymn came to an end. I closed my eyes to listen to the blessing and heard an older black voice speak the blessing. This immediately told me two things. 1) The missionaries are finding people to talk to and the ward is growing (because the blessing is usually done by a very young priest (16-18 year old)* and 2) the ward is ethnically diverse. These are good things in my mind.

The boys were reverent during Sacrament and I got to note more than once during meeting that they're all maturing a little. It might have been the honeymoon stage, but we did great for the first hour (then I took the boys to the bathroom since Milo was in regular underwear and still can't be counted on to anticipate when he has to go. I then decided to listen to the rest of meeting in the hallway because the meeting is normally over at 10:20 and I didn't want to keep walking in and out if meeting was over in ten minutes. More on this later.)

After Sacrament the Stake President took the stand. A petite asian man, he followed an even more petite woman who gave the blessing. He grinned and motioned that the microphone be raised and then joked about how he always wanted to do that because it made him feel tall. People laughed. Then he launched right into a discussion about what it means to reorganize the bishopric. You could have heard a pin drop. I don't know if people knew or not, but I got the feeling that most people didn't know the old bishop was being released. When they changed the bishopric, they also changed the elder's quorum leadership. What a day to start church! The Stake President spoke at length about supporting the new bishop and seemed to enjoy drawing out the suspense. I think he spoke for a half hour before he proceeded with releasing the old leadership and calling the new leadership. The new names seemed well greeted.

About this time I took the boys to the bathroom so I missed the talks from the new bishop and his assistants. That is, I listened to them piped in over the speakers, but I didn't get to attach a face to the voice. The meeting ran over twenty minutes. By the end of the 20 minutes half the ward was walking at least one of their children in the hall. But people were smiling and noone seemed put out by any of it. A new bishop is only called once every four or five years, so it's a special thing.

The boys were thrilled to race off to find their classes. I didn't see Max again until I was waiting outside the primary room for Ben and Milo to come out so I could snag Milo for a quick trip to the potty. When I did he had clearly bonded with another St. Bernard puppy by the name of Zachary. They weren't bringing out the best in each other. Charmed, they were deaf to their teacher. I watched for about two minutes and then, after directing my son to the position that the teacher had been asking him to take for the last few minutes, I took ahold of the boy's ear and whispered that while his friend seemed very nice, he wasn't making good decisions and that Max needed to stop following his lead and make better decisions. I reminded him that he knew how to behave and that I expected him, in short, to knock off the messing around right this instant. [Insert Mutual-of-Omaha footage of irritated mother tiger nipping an out-of-line cub.] I gather that the boys managed to keep themselves out of trouble after that. At least, Max claims he did.

I went to relief society after helping Milo and that went fine. There's a gal there that I already knew through Jill and I got to talk to her afterwards and feel like I already knew someone. In general, everyone was, as Chris told me last night "a MORMON! They're just not mean people!" Instead I spoke with a whole lot of enthusiastic, kind, harried mothers that reminded me of all the other enthusiastic, kind, harried LDS mamas I already knew. I rounded up my cubs (took some doing as much to my surprise, they'd split up Ben and Milo into separate Sunbeam classes. I mulled this over since, in general, I don't approve of splitting up young twins -- research says it does more harm than good -- but I decided not to say anything since they'll be together in preschool and they'll be together at home and in virtually everything else they do, so a few hours in Sunday school might be a nice break.) Anyway, I rounded up the boys and we headed out to the car. It was as I was loading the boys into the truck that Max announced that it was conceivably the best day of his life as he had just made a new friend and expected to play with his "new best friend" this afternoon at Jill's house. And that warmed my cockles because I know that this move has been hard on him and it's good to see him fearlessly putting down new roots.

Which is good because we're never, ever, ever moving again ;)

* I had written deacon earlier because I knew that the kids who pass sacrament are all deacons, and I thought the older male teens who bless the sacrament were deacons, too. But, Sarah clarified for me in an email: "priests (16+) bless the sacrament, teachers (14-15) prepare the sacrament, and deacons (12-13) pass (only). It’s confusing, I know you’ll get it." This means, essentially, that my first assumption wasn't necessarily correct -- except that I've never seen anyone other than a 16-18 year old do it unless it was a convert coming up through the priesthood ranks. So either the gentleman in question WAS a convert coming up through the ranks or he was filling in because there weren't enough young priests there that day. Some other life-long church member will have to educate me :)


Elizabeth McKeeman said...

Hey, at our Branch the Elders have to do it more often than not :D

It's great to hear everything went well! :kisses:

Korrie in UT said...

I'm SO GLAD that you had a good Sunday! Here's hoping for many more to come!