I was so touched to see this bit of humanity, this respect and consideration for the stranger. It is one reason I love living in a city: where we are all so close together, we have more opportunity to exercise and witness kindness.
Why does the act of charity, in this case, the transaction initiated by a beggar or panhandler, feel so uncomfortable to me? Mental recriminations if I give, guilt if I don’t. Perhaps it is because I don’t know the protocol, the expectations, and so I’m worried about an inadvertent transgression. But it isn’t that hard to act, to find a way to overcome my anxiety and hesitation to do something small.
A few months ago, I was asked to speak on the topic “How do I support the Priesthood in my home?” I am posting the talk now because the Young Women’s lessons in June are about the Priesthood and Priesthood Keys. This is one of the topics that caused me so much uneasiness that I all but stopped blogging for a long period of time.
As I read the women’s stories in Baring Witness, I was filled with love and sorrow and hope for all of these sisters. I want to sit with them over a long lunch, laughing and crying together. These are women who have shared their vulnerabilities, who have opened their lives to me: how can I not love them? And the great strength of this collection is that Welker has gathered together Mormon-y women who have a wide variety of experiences with marriage, including even standard Mormon marriages that work according to plan with those relationships that encounter all sorts of unexpected challenges.
I’ve been thinking about the different callings I have been given over the years. To that end, I present to you Rachel’s Church Callings, an incomplete list:
Any minute now, it will begin: first one car, then another, then another will drive into our cul-de-sac and park in front of the house across the street. As they do on every holiday, the Bishop’s children are coming home.
A High Priest I know is in crisis. He is an immigrant who, like many other Church members, came to the US without a visa, according to what I understand of the situation. After arriving here he joined the Church, and eventually fell in love and married a U.S. Citizen, a wonderful, faithful Church member. This situation would normally put him on track for a green card and U.S. citizenship. But this brother is facing deportation, and his ward and stake are praying for a miracle that will keep him here in the United States.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mormon employees at the University of Phoenix benefited from discrimination based on religion, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The University settled the suit, paying $1.9 million to 52 employees (an average of more than $36,000 each!) and agreeing to a “zero-tolerance” policy to religious discrimination, but did not admit wrongdoing. What’s up with that?
A few months ago, a sister in our ward asked my daughter to babysit. On a Monday evening. Thatâ€™s right. Monday Evening. We try to be diligent with family home evening on Monday night, so the answer needed to be â€œno,â€ but I was a bit confused about how to convey that message.
I’m not sure whether or not Halloween is actually “Mormon” to any significant degree. Mormons generally participate in the holiday here in the U.S., of course. And we even have a few requirements of the holiday in a Church setting — for example, we don’t allow masks at Church-sponsored Halloween events. But I don’t think that these facts quite give us a Mormon Halloween. Perhaps what we need is a good, Mormon-specific monster!
Last weekend I went to the penultimate game in Yankee Stadium, and the next night watched the last game on television, complete with its post-game wake. Over nearly 20 years I’ve attended meetings there, letting a place and a culture become an almost religious part of my life. Its a Temple of baseball.
Like in many Mormon families, my siblings and I helped fix dinner. On Sunday’s I loved to fix the mashed potatoes. It was in making mashed potatoes that I learned early that though a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better. Early on, I served a large bowl (there were 8 of us) of mashed potatoes after thinking that if a little salt was good, . . .
This past week I received a card in the mail from the BYU Alumni Association, asking for my help in “editing” my biographical information in an “Alumni Directory” in preparation. While I’ve certainly given the Alumni Association biographical information in the past, for some reason this time I started asking myself “is this worth my time?” and, in the Mormon context, “is this worth anyone’s time?”
My grandmother, mother, and I all served missions, so I was delighted when my firstborn announced her intention to serve, submitted her papers, received her call. Little did I know.
The other day somebody sent me a YouTube link for a comedian Iâ€™ll call Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones was a chubby gramdma with hot flashes â€“ not the kind of person you usually see doing stand-up. Most of the â€œfunnyâ€ email forwarded to me makes me sigh and hit the delete button. Mrs. Jones made me laugh out loud. It felt sort of weird. Which made me realize that I donâ€™t laugh nearly enough
When asked why they aren’t more generous with their time or money, many people answer that if they gave more, it would be at the expense of their own children. Sure, the argument goes, it would be great if I could pay an extra $100 to provide immunizations for kids in Africa, but my first duty is to my family, and giving that $100 for immunizations would prevent me from taking my kids to the water park.
For years I’ve been torn by the knowledge that there are thousands of orphaned or abandoned children desperate to be welcomed into a family like mine and our reasons for “passing by on the other side” when we see the “least of these.”
Warning: To write this post, Iâ€™ve had to get personal. I apologize in advance for that, but some points I make require grounding in my observations about personal experiences, many of which are highly charged. The stories and observations I report here in no way represent everything I think about these matters. More importantly, they donâ€™t represent everything I will think; Iâ€™m not through turning over these events and ideas to see what else is there. If you’ve come to this post already feeling overwhelmed or bothered about something, you might want to skip reading this, because it might make matters worse for you. After you read this post, it will self-destruct in sixty seconds. (I wish, but then again, some records must stand.) Did I mention this post runs long? Okay then, here we go. In 1992 I gave birth to a daughter, Mattea. An in utero infection of a predatory organism called cytomegalovirus (CMV) destroyed nearly half her brain, including most of her brain stem. Describing what her lifeâ€™s been like is impossible for a blog post. Furthermore, Iâ€™ve never undertaken the epic journey toward consciousness that she has, though I accompanied her every step of her way. Some things she felt and did Iâ€™ll never know how she managed.
Yesterday we met our new home teachers. After they shared their message, and before they asked to leave us with a prayer, they asked the common question, “Is there anything you need that we can help you with?” We answered “No.” We then said a prayer together and they left. When they asked that question my mind began to list all the things that we need or want- a grown up bed for our kid, someone to watch our kid this Thursday while I’m at the dentist, to figure out what is going on with my husband’s ear, help figuring out just exactly what sorts of things I should buy for food storage, advice on hiring a landscaper or doing the backyard ourselves, advice on refinancing our home, etc. I wonder what would have transpired if I had shared any of those things with our home teachers. Obviously it would have been a bit overwhelming for a first visit, but I’m sure they’ll ask the question again the next time they come.
In some way, Jews and Mormons seem to be kin culturally, whatever the doctrine about our kinship.