Have you ever had one of those Sundays where the cosmos seems to conspire against you? Four days ago was like that for me.
As the 2nd Counselor in my ward's primary organization, I didn't have any specific responsibilities this month. Because we were down two teachers, it was decided that I would substitute for one of our missing teachers. Previously we had been surviving by combining two classes, but it was quickly becoming apparent that strategy was going to burn out our teacher. I was going to be able to step in and relieve a little of the stress as we figured out what to do.
I had read my lesson once or twice, but because of our crazy week, I hadn't really sat down and studied it. No big deal---we have late church now, so I'd have Sunday morning to pull it together.
Saturday evening, our teacher called. He was sick. Looks like I would have the combo class. Our teacher's been doing this for two weeks. I could do this for him.
Sunday morning one drama erupted into another and though most of us were dressed two hours before church, I still had not had time to pull the lesson together. As I sat in the living room (not a good choice, I understand, but when only one parent is home and drama is running high, it is sometimes necessary) trying to read my lesson, I was continually interrupted by the ever increasing drama.
My interruptions were interrupted by a phone call. Our missionaries needed a ride for their investigators. They had called several people but still didn't have help. Now, remember, I live within walking distance from the building, so it is like already being at church, then leaving to pick them up and going back to the building. They had four people to pick up. My car could only manage three. So they were going to have to call someone else anyway.
I arrived at the building 45 minutes early to try and set up my classroom before church. There were no chairs in the classroom. Before I could hunt them down, I finished off a visual aid, threw a table cloth on the table and noticed that if I didn't leave right away, I would be late for my meeting with the missionaries. So I left.
When I got there, our people came out and the missionaries introduced us an mentioned that I would be taking only two of the investigators because they had someone else who also needed a ride. (Thanks for asking......) I managed to rearrange the carpool so the other car could pick up the remaining person (because remember during all of this, my children are getting themselves to church).
We arrived at church, got the investigators settled and I went off to find chairs for my classroom and two pictures from the library since I had printed my lesson off the net. I managed to sit down with my family just as my husband stood up to conduct the meeting.
Sacrament meeting wasn't too eventful except for the family who sat behind us. Their mother was home sick and their father was one of the speakers. During his talk, we had quite a bit of interaction between benches and had to rearrange seating a number of times. Their three-year-old was struggling with their 12-year-old and I invited him to sit with me and he did. That didn't make my two-year-old very happy. As one adult across three benches of children, I was grateful when their father finished speaking and resumed sitting with his family.
When it was time to head to Primary, I needed to find the investigators to direct them to where they needed to go and change my baby's diaper before nursery. Needless to say----all the children beat me to class and were impatiently waiting when I arrived. As a bonus, when I was walking into the classroom, the Primary President caught me, "I just wanted you to have a head's up. The chorister called this morning and she isn't coming. I need you to take care of singing time (20 minutes during the third hour)."
"You've got to be kidding!" I thought. I'm sure you could read those words on my face. Luckily the pianist came to my aid, "Do you want me to pull something out of the closet?"
"Ya----anything where the kids pick something. We'll figure out what they are singing later."
The class went well until about half way through when one of my missing students showed up. He did not want to be there, thought it was boring, and really just wanted attention from the girls----so there was a lot of flirting and disruption.
I made it through class and jumped right into singing time. The pianist had put together a tree with leaves. Whenever a student picked one, I just said whatever song came to my head. Yea for the pianist!! She just went with it and it worked.
Then there was a part of sharing time I needed to help out with because some of the other people didn't show up, so there was more improvising there, and of course, returning the investigators to their homes.
By the time I arrived home I was completely DONE managing children. I went to my room, laid on my bed and just tried to cry. My two-year-old destroyed a couple of things in my bedroom and I didn't even care. I think we didn't even get dinner finished and on the table until 7 (we usually do that about 5:30).
When my husband arrived home and found my lying on our bed in the dark, he asked how my day was. "Horrible!"
I related the entire story, to which my husband wisely replied, "Aren't you so glad that you are capable of that?" I was glad, even if I was exhausted.
And the truth be told, it wasn't horrible. Heavenly Father gave me a few gemstones for the ride. During our singing time, the five-year-old investigator was trying so hard to sing the songs, she was bouncing. Our primary teacher was singing in her ear. She had never heard the song before but was so touched by what she felt that she couldn't sit still. I was so moved that in the middle of the chorus of Nephi's Courage, I just started crying, but kept waving my arm. I'd regain my composure, catch a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision and choke up again. It probably didn't help that Nephi's Courage is one of my favorite songs.
Then on the way home, the 18-year-old investigator said she really appreciated them (the YW presidency) teaching her that "women are suppose to be emotional. The [world and] people around me just say 'stop being so emotional. But that is a part of who I am."
I could tell that was new information for her and it solidified something she knew internally but had zero validation for.
Was my effort and headache worth it? If just for those two girls and what they leaned and felt that day---the Lord would say, "I'm sorry that was hard for you---but just look at what it did for them. Don't you think it was worth it?"
Each of us has a part to play. Each of our roles will be difficult for us, because each of our paths is designed by our loving Father in Heaven who has our eternal growth and development in His agenda. That growth is hard and usually painful, but it is worth it. I'm glad this Sunday is stake conference!