Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Great Task

I didn't go to primary today, and I won't for a while. We met with the bishop before we left and explained our situation: that I'm pregnant, that it's a high risk pregnancy, that I'm not supposed to lift anything, and that I get weekly injections in my hip that feel less than lovely.

He said I'd probably be released, so we left thinking he'd resolve things.

But then I got an email from the primary presidency informing me that I'd been assigned to teach...Sunbeams?

The Sunbeams are the in-coming primary children. They've turned three within the past year and are leaving nursery to join the big kids. They're adorable, but the transition isn't always smooth (I've taught Sunbeams a few times before so I say this with confidence) and they require a lot of attention the first couple months while they're getting into the groove of primary. They get upset and miss their mommies and want to be held. They need lots of help in the bathroom—they're all too short to wash their hands. They're also too short for the drinking fountain and want a boost up. Sometimes they escape the classroom and race through the hallways.

And they all weigh more than 20 lbs. so I can't do much to help with all that...

I thought the presidency knew I was expecting and that it was complicated, and I thought the bishop was planning on talking to them about releasing me, but...I guess that they didn't and that that didn't happen. So I emailed the presidency and told them what was going on. I even offered to stay in primary (as long as they moved me to senior primary which requires less babysitting and more plain ordinary teaching), but the president called me and said to not worry about a thing—except myself and my baby—and she'd find someone else for my class.

So I'm not in primary anymore, which is kind of weird because I've been in primary forever. And I felt kind of silly being like, "I can't work in primary because I'm pregnant..." because I know that you can work in primary while pregnant (or with a brand new baby or with a screaming toddler). Because I've done it.

I was the Sunbeams teacher when I was pregnant with Benjamin and when we raced to the hospital at 2:00 AM on the Sunday morning he was born all I grabbed was a dress to change into because obviously whatever problem we were having would soon be solved and we'd be back at church like always. Except that the "problem" ended up being labour, so instead of solving the problem I simply had a baby. And then I pretty much was at home or the hospital until we moved to North Carolina.

I was the secretary for the primary in Cairo when I was pregnant with Miriam and I went to church the Sunday after she was born because I didn't want to miss the primary program we'd been working so hard on. She was born on a Monday so she was almost a week old. That's totally old enough to go to church. (I did skip out on primary for a few weeks because I didn't want her around all the kids, but we still went to church).

I was the stake primary secretary when I was pregnant with Rachel. She was born the day before our big Pioneer Day Celebration and I was kind of bummed about having to miss it after working so hard on it. I had to call my parents and have them drop off a bunch of stuff at the stake center (water coolers I was planning on borrowing from them and things like that).

The only time I've ever not been in primary were a couple of months in Utah when I was busy with Benjamin and a couple of months in North Carolina before I was given a calling in...primary.

Because where else would they put me?

But today I went to Sunday School and Relief Society and it was kind of nice to just sit there and listen (and sip my water and munch on my snacks because that's pretty much my full time job these days). I always make a point to find something to ponder during church while hearing only the most basic of gospel principles (which, truthfully, are probably the most important), but hearing grown ups discuss the gospel was a nice change of pace.

In Relief Society we studied the first chapter of The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson and he mentions that "The great test of life is obedience to God... The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it. The great commandment of life is to love the Lord."

We talked quite a bit about how we put God first and how we can show Him our love and do his will. I immediately thought of the story in The Friend Magazine that I read to the kids last night—about how we are His hands, that if we love Him we'll keep his commandments and that his first commandment is to love God and the second is to love our neighbours, that if we love him we'll feed his sheep.

I didn't say anything, of course, because the teacher was bribing us to comment by using chocolate and I don't eat chocolate (but more because talking is...awkward) but plenty of others mentioned charity as being the pure love of Christ and that we need to serve our fellowmen.

So I'd been turning these thoughts over in my mind all day, and then it got to be bedtime and so I read some stories to the kids. Among them was a picture book by Jon Muth called The Three Questions. It's a retelling of a short story (of the same title) by Leo Tolstoy, which I don't think I've ever read (so of course I found it and read it after I put the kids to bed).

Muth's story was quite kid-friendly while Tolstoy's was rather heavy (but should that really be a surprise? It's Tolstoy) but they both ended with the same message:
Remember then: there is only one time that is important—Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!
It made me think, again, about what our great task of life is. And Tolstoy nailed it (which also shouldn't really be a surprise because Tolstoy was a devout Christian). That's it—our great purpose here is to help each other, to love and serve one another. And that's definitely something I need to work on.


  1. I wanted to post here that Thai commercial that is on my FB page. I tagged J and P in it because Thailand. But it is definitely on this subject. But I can't figure out how to paste it here.As for you, enjoy this season to eat, drink and be weary, for tomorrow (figuratively) you'll have a baby (tomorrow = late May or early June.)

    1. I remember watching that one a few months ago! It's a good one. Have you seen this one? Thailand is just full of good commercials, apparently. :)

    2. Thailand does have the best commercials. The tender ones, and the funny ones. We used to watch them from time to time in our Thai class. Thanks for sharing that one...I had not seen it.

  2. I wish I would get released....this is my third year teaching the youth Sunday school and I got bored of the lessons before the first year was even up. I heard they were throwing around the idea of changing the adult Sunday school lessons to these....I would just start skipping second hour ;)

  3. Primary is the best place to be! In my opinion. I have been doing Primary since age 13, and that was a lot of years ago!! With some small breaks here and there, just to remind me that I would rather be in Primary!