Tuesday, August 19, 2008

releasing nursery..... ?

We, my husband and I, serve in the nursery.

About three months ago I wrote this post, and had pretty much resolved to take a sabbatical from the church. The SAME DAY I wrote that post we were visited by a member of the bishopric (a friend of ours) and asked if we would serve as nursery leaders together.

Was it some joke from God? (Still assuming the existence of one.) A divine sign I should stay? Observant leadership perceiving that I might leave? There was a lot of emotional junk associated with this calling; the most basic being that I have a hard time with kids (hubby however, is great with them). But in addition to that, for all appearances, my disaffection kept my husband from getting a calling in the Elder's Quorum, and I, enraged, sent off a missive in which I indicated that my ability to support my husband in his callings had been severely misjudged. I never did receive a response to that letter. When we were extended this calling a month later, I wondered if this WAS a response; "oh yeah miss-offended-and-apostate-smarty-pants? support your husband in THIS!".
A calling that is typically considered one of the least desirable.
And which my husband cannot do unless I am present.

I seriously considered saying no. I was really planing on taking a break. But this brought up all sorts of stuff for me, like the taboo of saying no to callings, how badly the ward needs SOMEONE to do this, how it might be a suitable break from Sunday School and Relief Society yet still a way to participate (a sort-of sabbatical), how a humble calling would be a good thing for me (as an active and believing member I used to be so proud of my doctrinal teaching skills, this calling would have seemed like SUCH a waste of my talents!). And above all, "Hell yes, mister ass-hole Stake President... I DO support my husband in his callings! (You pompous arrogant white-collar slim ball!!)"

So, Sunday has become a pretty miserable day. (It was anyways... but now especially I feel stuck, arrested mid-step.) This Sunday I was dead set on asking to be released from nursery (and then take a break from church for a time.)
I haven't made the call yet.
It's a scary difficult phone call for me to make (to a friend).

There is a part of me that wants to just tough it out, that whispers that this is giving up, deserting the children! And then another voice self-righteously implies that it is all in my head, and if I had a better attitude it would be so wonderful and I would learn so much from this. (That voice sounds an awful lot like my mom.) And there is this little conspiracy theorist voice whispering that my giving up is exactly what mr. pious peremptory Stake President is expecting of me: then it becomes a total "I'll show you" pride thing.
(In all honestly, I bet he never gave me a second thought. This mostly just shows off my self-absorption. Sick.)

Really, I wonder if I am trying to talk myself into staying in the calling (hard option #1) or out of making that excruciating phone call (hard option #2).


EmilyCC said...

Oh, G, tough call! Are you and your husband the only two in nursery? I've heard that as long as any female is present, it's ok. Good luck...sigh, wish I had some profound advice to give :)

G said...

thanks emilycc...
there's actually three (going on four) nurseries in our ward, usually pretty packed (and stuffed into tiny rooms around the building).

Just letting them know that I could no longer be in the nursery (and letting them figure out what to do with my hubby) was sort of what I was considering... but that sure feels awkward, huh? (what a desertion!)

adam said...

I play the piano in primary (currently on my second stint) and enjoy it quite a bit, because I spend the time playing the piano (obviously, although if we sing all four verses of I am a Child of God one more time I'm going to threaten a sabbatical), and reading during sharing time. I actually read Rough Stone Rolling a few years ago, almost solely during primary...

I will force no advice upon you, only that my wife, in about 2 more months when our son is 18 months, will be EXTREMELY grateful for nursery workers. Good luck in whatever happens, though!

Anonymous said...

G--I once had a bishop (the only one I ever truly respected) tell me that if you're not having fun in a calling--yes, he said FUN, then you SHOULD asked to be released. He said that although service at times can be hard and inconvenient, it should always remain a joyous gift that you give willingly. He also said that leaders aren't mind readers, and often appreciate a nudge in the right direction as to what you really need. Of course, in your case, I can completely understand your hesitation due to how badly your ward/stake leadership has treated you in the past. But never give in to guilt. It can become completely debilitating. No one should feel like a victim at church. Follow your heart--you're not saying "no" to service, you're saying "yes" to taking care of your own spiritual needs so that you may live to serve another day.

bones said...

g: I personally believe that my nursery calling left me within an inch of severe depression. The only thing that saved me was the fact that my husband was serving with me. At least I got to be with him for the two hours of torture. I'm with you, I don't really like other people's kids all that much. I'm not very good with them, either. My husband is like a regular "pied piper". They love him! We were finally released after nearly a year and I very nearly jumped for joy. I think, as you obviously already know, that your real issue is whether or not you're ready for a break. If you are, you ask to be released and take that break. If not... Definitely don't let the pious SP decide for you, though. :-)

flygirl said...

That is a tough one. I know what you mean about the voices in your head (in a non-schizophrenic way of course) :) I have been trying to do things lately because I want to do them and not making decisions out of fear. I lived very fear-based for a long time, and what I found is that usually the fear of whatever was worse than actually doing it, or whatever came after. Sometimes I spend so much time stressing over stuff, and it rarely goes as bad as I expected. I have found as I speak for myself and what I really want, it gets easier each time.
I think it's like Bones said, once you decide what you want, you'll be ready to make the call, or keep on keepin' on in the nursery.

Elizabeth-W said...

What's nice about nursery is the lessons are things like "I'm thankful for fish", or "I am thankful for my eyes.". I can teach those lessons and have zero ambivalence.
Best of luck to you.

G said...

thanks, all for your kind words...

Jessica said...

I can't believe that the Stk Pres didn't respond to your letter.
That's crazy.
Best of luck with nursery.
Did you see Eve's post about nursery today at ZD?
Well timed, I'd say :)

ZD Eve said...

Oh, G. This sounds so hard. I have no words of wisdom whatsoever, but you definitely have my sympathies. I've been in the calling spiral of death a few times, looking at hard options #1 and #2 and trying to sort out the voices in my head. All I can say is that personally, I've often found it an immense, soul-saving relief to ask to be released. But I can see how past interactions with leadership have made an already painful situation that much more complicated.

Best of luck to you.

lma said...

You know, one of the things I most resented when I was in the church was the unwritten rule (or, maybe it is written down somewhere, I don't know) that you are not allowed to say "no", ever. Or, anyway, if you want to be considered a "good" Mormon, you can't.

I guess I should have taken it as a sign that I would be on my way out eventually, when I learned to say "no" to callings and to doing things like helping harvest the grapes, that I could not do physically without hurting myself or making myself ill.

I believe it is disrespectful of the person to expect them to say yes to everything they are asked. I don't believe that God (should he or she exist) is that disrespectful of our personhood. Church leaders, on the other hand (and not just LDS church leaders, by any means), are not always with the program on the respect thing and assume that it is a one-way street...that the membership must respect the leaders but the leaders don't have to respect the membership.

strivingforsunshine said...

I read this post and then went to church. I was asked to substitute in the nursery with my husband and had the best time. I'm in the RS Presidency over enrichment which I hate....Lots of issues there. I wish we could do a better job of giving callings to people that they may actually enjoy doing. All in all there is too much history of saying yes and never asking to be let out. Wish we could get rid of those stigmas so that I could be in the nursery and you could be wherever it is you want to be.

Good luck