I need to share two experiences--one good and one bad. The bad first; it will shed light on why I have such fond memories of the other.
Here we are in the middle of a job hunt, a few weeks from baby, potentially needing to move and school ending. It is a little stressful right now. My VT calls me and apologizes for missing last month (I've seen her twice in the last year) and asks if I'm available Thursday. Well, no, thank you, I'm actually not. I have to go to the doctor, my husband is working in the evenings, and on days when I don't see my kids before 5 pm it is really hard to commit to anything else. She says, "Well, I guess (insert partner's name here) will try to follow up then later in the month."
"I'm free all next week," I'm nothing if not accomodating.
"We're moving next week."
"Oh, great; husband is done with school then?"
"No, he has a while to go."
"Are you changing schools?"
"No, just moving to a different apartment."
"Where at?" I'm still very friendly at this point, trying to get to know this woman who has made no effort to know me.
She then gives an address about six blocks from here. I hate to complain, but she has no children, until recently didn't work, her husband works evenings and she has been a student. Is she really so busy that she cannot come to visit? And, despite Sunday being their last official Sunday, is it so hard to stop by for 20 minutes next Wednesday afternoon to say, "You must be having a really difficult time right now. How can we help transition you to your new visiting teachers so that you have some help?"
I'd like to walk a mile in her shoes, but I'm swelling out of my own so badly I'm afraid I would just ruin hers and she'd have one more reason to dislike me.
Champions Ward split just two weeks before the Poopy Pirate was born. I remember this time vividly for some other events that happened. I also remember sitting through nearly two hours of "Sacrament meeting" in the heat of the gymnasium while my feet swelled through my shoes to find out which ward we'd be in. Because the ward was new, everyone was officially released. Yet, Jenny Scharman, my visiting teacher in shining armor who didn't miss a month in over two (or was it three?) years despite nearly alwasy coming by herself was there every step of the way. She stayed overnight with ManCub when it was hospital time despite the last minute notice. She made sure we had meals arranged for over a week when I came home, just days before Christmas. And were these officially "Parkway" women? NO! They were women who loved me and had supported me. In addition to Jenny's love, Sarah Berry was there to help with my delivery and take the most beautiful newborn pictures anyone ever saw. She called every day for a week to make sure I was okay.
Did any of them do any of this because they had been assigned? Again, a resounding NO! They did it because these special women understood in a remarkable way that Relief Society is not something you attend; it is something you belong to. It is not about ward boundaries and callings, it is about Christ entering your heart and changing who you are down so deep that you desire above all else to love and serve. In those few short days after my second son's birth, I learned about true sisterhood.
Granted, my less than stellar VT here in this ward is very young, and I doubt she has ever lived outside of Utah. She has probably never had a need for such service. Having not experienced such a time she is unable to understand the importance of lending that support to others. Perhaps one day she will, and she will never blow off a sister in need just because she moved two blocks too far to the south.