Plantboy said today that we have 125 or so really active members out of a roll of around 400 in our ward. This puts the activity rate somewhere in the 30% range.
I was often in wards (or branches) like this as a missionary, but as much as I got to know and really love the people I served, I always was keenly aware of the transient nature of my situation. Even the very hardest wards only had to be endured for six months, tops. Then it was off to somewhere else!
Not the case now.
I'm trying hard to count my blessings. I'm trying hard to find friends that I relate to who don't seem to be one step away from going off the deep end. I'm trying hard to find family time in the evenings. Let me give you a run down of the week I'm currently in so you have an idea:
Last Friday: Scrapbook night at the church. I actually planned this one, but the women who came want to get it committed to a monthly thing on the calendar. I did't get a ton done, being more of an instructor than anything else. And yes, if enjoying scrapbooking makes you think of me as some kind of stereotyped, "typical" Mormon woman, you can just go blog somewhere else.
Yesterday: Fed the missionaries. Love doing this, but it was the fourth time in the last six weeks. Though we only feed them every other day (15-16 days each month) in our ward, we still cannot get their calendar filled up. This problem is getting worse all the time.
Today: Plantboy was at church from 7-3 today. He is the ex.sec., but he has also just been called as the Varsity Scoutmaster. They have no one in mind as a replacement for his current calling. The combination of the two make him busier than any man in the ward except the Bishop. Great! He is hometeaching tonight. I only sat in 40 minutes of church today because of the baby.
Monday: Visiting teaching three of the five sisters on my list. I hope to get hold of my companion who spends about 20 days a month in another city helping a grown daughter with a husband and four children, and she has a deeply troubled adult son for whom she is the full-time care giver. The other two sisters avoid any effort we make to schedule with them though they are both fairly active in the church. The awkward part is that I have to report my VT to one of these sisters. It would be faster to visit them because to compensate I make several phone calls for appointments that never happen and usually bake something for each of them every month. FHE has to be put off until later in the week (if it happens at all) because I tutor on Mondays.
Tuesday: Hubby at the bishop's office after work. Sometimes he goes in as early as 6:30 and comes home as late as 10:00. I was supposed to have an Enrichment meeting that night as well, which I have thankfully convinced our counselor to handle over the phone.
Wednesday: Plantboy and I tag team all day on Wednesdays. Papers-Plantboy goes to work and comes home early-STM tutors-Plantboy goes to YM. I'm in bed about the time he gets home.
Thursday: I'm hosting book group this month. We are reading a very non-offensive book, but it is so tame that I have NO IDEA what we'll talk about for an hour. If anybody has any really gripping insights into Anne of Green Gables, please let me know. . . .
Okay, I'm done griping. Most weeks aren't this bad. And my testimony is strong. I was able to sit through most of Sunday School today and I felt such an overpowering love for the Book of Mormon that I wanted to weep the whole time. The gospel is so amazing and I love the life it has given me beyond my ability to express, but I would just like a week or two of time off from the cultural Church.
And a friend. I'd really like a good friend to just come hang out over here while we commiserated together about the difficulties of serving in this corner of the vineyard, and maybe shed a few tears over never-ending responsibilities and blessings, and the high cost of things and the worldly difficulty of choosing between things we want and things we need. Any takers?