Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Time, Social Time

What has happened since I last posted to this blog in July?   Lots.  Summarizing.

July we attended Pioneer Picnic at church member's home, that home being on a large property bordered by a creek.  Sunny day, casual fun. July also is the month of my birthday and my oldest daughter's birthday, and we made arrangements for family weekend get together with stay over at cottages on the ocean.  Another 3rd Sunday in teaching the lesson in Relief Society for me.  I did a stand in for vacationing teacher for a Primary class for a couple of Sundays.  Fortunately for me, the lesson plan was about Missionaries, so I invited the two Missionaries into the class to share their experiences with the children.  Afterwards we did a make believe with the children being missionaries visiting potential investigator.  They had some fun defining who would play what role.

My husband was taking a stint as stand in for the vacationing Primary pianist.  I rather knew where he was going with that and sure enough, after a few weeks he was given that 'calling', releasing the woman who had held that calling for 3 years.  She was pleased with the respite.  I understood, and also felt he had abandoned me to the Sunday School sessions.  I use the word abandoned because I still have many questions about the manner in which this church chooses to interpret New Testament gospel.   I'm struggling with finding the established protocol for asking the questions respectfully, and in meaningful way without it being a challenge to the Teacher or confrontational or contentious.  Sometimes though, things need to be said aloud, and I'm still struggling some with saying such things in a tone that reflects respectful dialogue.  My husband knows much about my viewpoints and I have appreciated having him sitting next to me in the Sunday School period.  Now I am sitting alone, and feeling like he rather abandoned me before I was ready to be alone in that particular class.

Still July and we participated in a community meeting regarding the potential closing of a Dept. Social and Health Services Community Service Office in our area.  Resources our community can ill afford to be without, and with a senior aged population, the geographical terrain to get to another region is prohibitive. It is part of our activism efforts to alert the community and encourage their participation in keeping the much needed community resource office.

August was all about my husband, his birthday coupled with his retirement at end of the month.  Birthday celebration, retirement celebration, getting all those last minute preparations completed to transition health insurance, pension, medical and dental visits, paperwork processing.  An unusual event did happen in that four of his children arranged a surprise get together for his birthday/retirement.   Another 3rd Sunday in teaching the lesson in Relief Society for me.

Moving into September and Labor Day celebrations with our new friends in another Ward who come up annually for Memorial and Labor Day camp outs.  I felt moved to give my first 'testimony' at the first Sunday Fast and Testimony service to thank Sister A. for the helpful way she explained her understanding of Priesthood as an office separate from the men.  Somehow her explanation of how she viewed it clicked with me as I have had problems with the separate roles of male and female in this church, males seeming to hold the 'authority' type roles, which is contrary to my experiences in the world working side by side with men holding jobs with equal responsibilities, holding supervisor positions instructing men in their responsibilities.  The structure in this church has felt like steps backwards in time to the pre-feminist era of the gains women made in the 1970's with the galvanized feminist movement. While many have tried to reassure me that women do not hold subservient roles in this church, and are in fact, highly regarded, I still see that as having limitations for women in the expectations for women's roles in this church.  I hope to expand in sharing my thoughts on this at another time.

His sister from Utah came for her annual week visit.  Our schedule that week had several social activities, joining our out of town friends in a camping dinner, an evening wedding and reception of  young members of our Ward, and we had been asked by the Bishop to attend Stake Conference, he to play piano, me to sing with our impromptu 'choir'.  Also our Ward was to provide dessert for the Stake Conference, about 300 people.  We had a quick practice after services Sunday before Stake Conference weekend.  He sat at piano and we, as the improvised choir surrounded him at the piano.  All appreciated his playing, and the choir leader (she does have a degree in music) showcased him by asking him to play the third verse of the song with the trills, twinkles and extras that he does that makes the music more than a straightforward hymn.  His talent and ability as pianist is well regarded and I think our Bishop was eager to showcase him at Stake Conference.  Sure enough, he played beautifully and many came up to thank him and express how taken they were with how he played, something he possesses within himself that makes itself known spiritually in how he plays the piano, and it resonates strongly with people when they hear him play.  I know, I have heard it often from many who wish to express to me how they react and respond to his music.

I'd say August into the first week of September was the month of my husband.  And I'm pleased, happy, and take pride in his humility that indeed, this has been his moment.

Granddaughter to visit at our home this week.  We will spend a few days at my mother's home, supporting her as she deals with a medical procedure. We will be spending weekend with my son and his fiance, then a day with his son as they put together music for his daughter's wedding at end of the month.   It's been a summer filled with family and social activities. As the Autumn season makes it's way, we will close out the summer having experienced fullness of spirit with loving friends, family and our new church family.  New chapters ahead in our lives with him retired now, and us with new opportunities as well as new challenges straight ahead.

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