Sunday, December 20, 2009

Being Released

Sometimes I love the evocative imagery of Mormon terms. For the last year I've served in the Young Women's with the 12-18 year old girls in our ward. I've loved this calling (that's what we Mormons call our jobs in the church).

I was the camp director (as I once so brilliantly explained it to my friends in Alabama, "It's a camp. For girls."), but I served as a counselor and sports director as well (I imparted all of my wisdom about ball sports, such as 'Duck!' and 'Run!'). I taught Sunday lessons, went to activities and fell in love with my calling. It was easy because the women and girls I served with were marvelous. A couple of the girls intimidated me, as I saw visions of what my little girls could become with their free agency, but most of them gave me courage and hope with their goodness, intelligence, and budding personalities. I love those girls.

But this week, they released me (That means it's someone else's turn to do the job). Release. I feel a sort of whooshing sort of windy noise with that word, as if something were holding on to me and suddenly let go. But release is such a powerful, ready-to-move-on word as well. It's what you feel when you achieve something, when the pressure relieves, when the baby's shoulder slides out :) Release is a freedom feeling too.

I am a little sad. I used to think my mom was strange when she cried when she was released. Now I know. Serving in a calling gives a different (not better, not worse, just different) kind of meaning and definition to your life than a job, or even motherhood.

I didn't cry until I was walking out to my car after the bishop told me they were extending a release to me (extending a release! Isn't that a great phrase? They're reaching out to let go. It seems perfect). Then, as Mike and I walked through the double doors of the church, a few tears squeezed out. There were so many things I had meant to do. Phone calls I should have made, girls I was just getting to know, lessons I was going to teach, personal progress I was going to do. Regret is often what makes our grief intense.

I'm not sure that I would even call my soft sadness about my release grief. My feeling is more like saying goodbye to a promising, not yet fully developed friend: "It was good while it lasted. I'll send you a Christmas card and maybe Facebook you." I will have sweet, edged-with-soft-blue- sadness moments when I think about being in the Young Women's. I love those girls, and that is the best memory I will have of this calling.


Charles, Kellie, Gabe and Khale said...

Hey Steph,
I am just catching up on your blog. (My life gets a little crazy during the school year!) Anyway, congrats on being prego! That is so exciting. Are you going to find out the sex? We did with our first but not our second and I would totally suggest waiting, it actually makes the delivery fun. Okay maybe fun isn't the best word for it but better. (You are the writer, find a good word for me.) Anyway, I am way excited for you and your family!!!

Kristyn said...

This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. As is no surprise to anyone who saw me at church today, I am having a really tough time with all these changes. Primary was my home, and I wasn't done. I was sure I had a few more years in the presidency there. Now as I move on to Young Womens, I am not feeling it like I should. Thanks for telling me how great it is. I am excited to start there, but so so sad to leave Primary. PS--you have some great new friends on the horizon in your calling. You will be great.

charbetrichey said...

It is so sweet to be released when you really like a calling. You will find that out over the years. I spent 30 years (no typo) in YW and I was happy to be released. I am sure that you will be called back before you are a grandma. :0)
Stay sweet. G-ma

Melissa said...

Okay, now Steph you need to tell everyone about your new calling. In which you will be awesome at!!

Shauna said...

Hope you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas! ♥ HUGS ♥