Friday, October 14, 2011

What's my contribution to my Ward community?

It's never been easy to be the new person entering into a community, be that school, work, church, or affiliations within the community where a person lives.   Having been raised a child in a military family, moving from military base to military base, some of the time overseas, I like to believe I developed some of those characteristics of what are known to  'third culture kids', children raised in cultures, communities, nations different from their birth country.  I appreciate that I can enjoy a new community, looking at their belief sets, customs and cultures with a fresh viewpoint.  Obviously different, and sometimes even strange, yet for the most part there seems to be some thread of logic, tradition to the customs of their culture.   Sometimes though, there are customs or practices within a culture that are just unfathomable and seem to have very little in the way of logic to them, so that all one can conclude is that it is a custom of tradition held and handed down through the generations.  Who knows where it started or even why it started, nonetheless, it is a treasured tradition within the culture.

I find myself then the 'new kid' in this faith tradition.  And I have been communing with these people for what seems to me a short while, but long enough that some have formed thoughts or a sense of who I am or maybe better said who I am to them.  I think in the anxiety of being a new kid and trying to fit in while keeping my own identity, integrity and sense of ideology, I forget it is a two way street and as much as they are influencing me, I am influencing them.  So aside from the 'callings' that define what I will 'do' in this church, and my efforts and performing well in these callings, it surprises me when someone comments on how I may have had an influence on them.  So it was last Sunday when one of the sisters gave a talk that I thoroughly enjoyed exactly because it was somewhat unconventional.  I mentioned that to her after the service, and it surprised me when she said to me, thank you, and yes, I had Sister Ruger in mind this morning knowing I would be giving a talk at church.  Now honestly, I don't know if it was a compliment or otherwise, but I do know that it caused me to realize that this communion is not one way, lest it wouldn't be 'communion'.  Another sister in an earlier Sunday had referenced something to effect of gotta love that Sister Ruger in a way connoting I did bring something to the church community.

Given that I am taking this all so very seriously, with enormous amounts of research, reading, comparison, discussions and conversations with my husband and a few others, it is nice to come up for air from time to time and recognize that it really is about sharing with others in communion and community and while my mind may be seriously engaged, that is not the presentation that my personage makes in my 'new' community.  While I may see myself as the awkward new kid busily learning everything there is that I can learn, some others are seeing me in an affectionate light, as the new kid, yes, but not necessarily the awkward new kid.  It's a nice change of pace.

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