Monday, January 7, 2008

Confessions of an unkind RS President!

Oh, the joy and peace of a sunny Monday morning! I've been enjoying reading everyone's blogs and gaining strength from all of your testimonies and shared experiences. This last week was a real trial for me. I had just gotten home from vacation and a funeral and was exhausted. Add to that the beginnings of PMS and then an inundation of RS responsibilities and other problems that couldn't be delegated and I was feeling down right mean! I felt like every last drop of charity had been drained from my heart and I felt sooo overwhelmed. I wanted nothing more than to be able to take a day or two to recuperate and get myself together. No such luck. As is often the case, the times when I felt like I most needed a break were the times that the phone would ring and another issue would arise! I had a hard time not complaining about having to help people who "should" be able to do more for themselves. I'm not saying that people should always be strong or should be able to do everything for themselves, but it's hard to mesh the idea of "self-reliance" and "charity." Where do we draw the line between helping and actually creating a dependent attitude? How much should we expect people to step up and DO for themselves, and how much should we be willing to step in and do for them? I'm still in the process of figuring this one out. As my Mom put it- we come from independent, do it yourself stock... and unfortunately compassion can sometimes get steamrolled by those ingrained attitudes. Please don't take my bad attitude of this last week personally- I really do love to serve and help, this was just a set of unusual circumstances.
The good news, though, is that this last week has taught me lessons. It has taught me that when I'm asked to go out of the way to help someone, I should try my hardest to do it in a spirit of love and compassion and not worry so much about their need to learn self-reliance at this time. Maybe they're not ready for the next step in their progression to self-reliance and responsibility. Maybe it's someone else's job to help them learn it. It doesn't matter- what matters is how I respond. And the Lord didn't say that I get a break just because I have PMS!!
I read an article about service that also helped put things into perspective. The article mentioned that those we serve are actually doing us a service also. Without the poor, the needy, and those who are struggling we would have no need to give service, thus cutting ourselves off from the growth and blessings that service brings to us. We didn't come here to memorize scripture verses and be able to recite them- we came here to LIVE them.
This all helped me learn another great lesson on humility. Not only am I not fully self-reliant myself (I have to rely on Heavenly Father for all I have and the Savior for all I need!) but I also can't progress without having the experiences I've been going through. I need to be reminded of my own frailties and inadequacies in order to have more compassion for those that I might see as not quite as capable as myself. It's a hard thing to admit that you've been so prideful that you've been judging someone else as not "enough" in some way or another. I'm thankful for the reminder I've had this week of my own weaknesses (pride obviously being one!) and for the multiple opportunities I have to try to overcome them.
That said, I'm also glad it's a whole new week and I'm getting back into a normal routine!! Yea for cleaning bathrooms and putting away Christmas lights!! Yea for exercise and being able to open the windows!! What a great day!


Leslie said...

What?? RS Presidents don't get a break from PMS?? That is SOOO unfair!! I am sorry you had a rough week. I am so grateful for you and your example. You are a wonderful, and compassionate person.

Yea for YOU!!!

Louann and Bari said...

Geez Louize----Get over yourself (ha). I'm sure you served with great dignity, compassion, and with a smile (a GREAT BIG smile) the whole time. Nothing gets you down for long, and if you are You always find a way for it to strengthen you. You are an amazing woman. Oh- and I think I predicted (prophecied) you RS presidency in one of our Pres meetings- I'm SURE!!!!!
Love you best!!!

Mama D said...

Yea for new weeks and the chance to leave the tough ones behind and face the new ones with a smile!

I love that you have relearned the principle of "what matters is how *I* respond."

The line between self-reliance and charity is blurry -- I think because that line is DIFFERENT for every single person and family! The legitimate needs of one might be a simple "do-it-yourself" process for another.

That is why another lesson we need to learn during this earth life is not to judge another. If we haven't walked in his/her shoes (past and present) we don't really know why someone might be asking for help rather than doing it themselves. I've had to start learning that the hard way over the past few years...

Steve and Jamie said...

Sorry you had a rough week. You've got a tough job. And it's only just beginning . . .

Hang in there! Let me know if I can let your visiting teachers know if you need any help.

Dory said...

It's nice to know that everyone has bad days. Life can be rough even to RS presidents!