Bishop Redford called to talk with me near the end of March 2008. He said Heavenly Father wanted me to serve as Relief Society President in 5th Ward. I was dumbfounded! Why me??
I knew the call came from Heavenly Father because for several months I had many impressions that I would be called – I just completed, absolutely rejected the whole idea. One weekend during another ‘discussion’ with God about my ability (or lack there of) I had a specific impression that what young mothers need most to know is that they are loved, and that they are not failures but in fact very successful and that Heavenly Father loves each one of them very much. I thought, “Sure I can do that. I can tell them that and try to help them with the incredible burdens they are expected to carry.” Bishop Redford called within the week.
I still wrestled with being expected to represent the beautiful, clever and wise women I knew – so many of them so much younger and working while raising young families. The first week of April just before my call I went to the temple, simple right? Not for me – or rather it was simple actually – for me these things are always TOO simple. I seem to expect the miraculous or astounding. I get simple. I think most of us do. Perhaps we pass over simple.
Despite spending a bit of time pondering and considering (both before and after attending) I felt nothing. My mind did not feel relieved, or enlightened. I left the temple feeling disappointed but decided to at least walk about seeing the grounds before driving 2 hours home.
I have often experienced such feelings. In the culture of the church many, many stories are published and recounted to illustrate how individuals receive comfort, enlightenment, or confirmation in spiritually uplifting ways – especially when they fast – or pray – or go to the temple. I hear very few stories that speak of experiences that are so simple or ordinary that they easily pass unnoticed.
The day was sunny but not too warm. Bees buzzed, flowering trees trailed blooms near the walks and a light breeze stirred the leaves of shrubs and nodded the bright blooms of spring bulbs. As I walked along immaculate flower beds behind the temple I marveled again and again at how carefully everything was planned and maintained. ‘Of course,’ I thought, ‘every detail should be practically perfect here.’
I was considering how I could possibly stand up in front of Relief Society or lead out when I saw the dandelion; as yellow as the sun itself; set as if deliberately cultured to showcase its color, right in the center of a large clump of fragrant purple blooms.
There were many such drifts of purple in varying shades. There was only one dandelion. I knew I was like that dandelion. If left to bloom it would seed and spread and make many more as beautiful as it was – and it was beautiful. Despite its reputation as a serious weed I knew that it was in that place, at that time, to show me that even a despised weed can be beautiful and is one of Heavenly Father’s creations. I took a picture with my cell phone.
I have thought much about dandelions since that day. Their roots can go very deep to open and enrich depleted, poor soil. They are almost impossible to get rid of - we hate them, but we love them too. They do have a beautiful flower. Most parents - and certainly every mother - (and many a lover) have tender tales that pivot on the simple ubiquity of dandelions - we have all seen them lining roadsides and covering meadows or lawns. (BTW - I promise I do NOT deliberately spread these invasive weeds. We are quite diligent to help rid our neighborhood of them.)
My husband’s mother had an old vase she used for her dandelion bouquets. I now use it for mine. And I cherish a hope that maybe; just perhaps, I spread a few seeds during the 2 years I served as RS President. If one person learned or remembers that they are one of God’s creations, and that he loves them just as they are in spite of what anyone else believes or thinks about them my time of service will have been spent well.
I also cherish the hope that, like dandelions, those seeds of hope and wonder will spread, put down deep roots to enrich even the most careless or barren of soils - and bloom.
|by the side of the road there IS NOT just one - there are millions - no kazillions ....|