Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Lessons from Above Hit You Over the Head with a Frying Pan

Recently I got a new calling at church.  It was one of those "are you sure you've got the right person?" moments when they told me what they wanted me to do.  To which they replied, "Oh yeah, you're the one."

They wanted me to be the Visiting Teaching Coordinator.  The what?!?!?!  I'm going to be totally and completely honest here, Visiting Teaching has not previously been a part of my life. At least not in a regular way. My mom had an extremely bad experience with visiting teaching during my formative years and I think I was (am) a little bit afraid of it.  Couple that with having been raised to never invite myself to somebody else's home, but to always wait for the invitation, and getting called "hester the pester" every time I asked for something more than once, Visiting Teaching just hasn't been something I can really wrap my head around.

I've also never really had visiting teachers who ever came to see me.  I'd be willing to bet that in the 20 years I've been an adult, I've had fewer than 20 visiting teaching appointments kept by women assigned to me.  Its not a complaint, I'm sure if I "needed" it, I would have had them, but it wasn't something I really felt was missing from my life either.  But I do think that because there was not the example of regular visits too me, that I didn't/don't quite fully comprehend the importance that it may carry for other people.  I know intellectually that the program is important, but its not something I've felt in my heart, or experienced in my life on either the giving or the receiving end.

So, they call me to be the visiting teaching coordinator and I'm a little flabbergasted, and a little nervous, and ALOT confused by all the reports and various versions of the lists, and it feels like a little much.  But I know (again, intellectually, not fully with my heart) that there is a reason for all this and am willing (even if without the best attitude) to do what I'm asked because its not really anything I can't do.

But I'm still feeling a little unwilling, or uncharitable, or un-something.

Then, the other day Marsha, the owner of the Martial Arts School calls me to check on how a friend of mine who has been ill has been.  During our conversation she says:  Its so important that our students know we care about them and we notice when they're gone, and that we have genuine concern about them and their families.  It was easy for me to keep up with everybody when we first got out here but now that we've got about 300 students, I just need people who are willing to help check on them and see how they're doing and let me know if there's something I need to do to help them.

well FINE!  Seriously?  Do I have to get hit over the head with a cast iron skillet to get the lesson here?  I get it.  The military is using companies of women only to make headway in Afghanistan because they understand that the relationships women form are more likely to produce the kind of free-flow of information necessary to understand what's really happening in the communities they are struggling to get a foothold in.  Now Marsha's talking about how with about 300 people she has to have help to know what her students need.  I think I'm getting the message.  Maybe even LOUD AND CLEAR.


Kristina P. said...

That's so funny, because I love that calling! So easy! I am one too. Our branch is sort of weird though, so all I really have to do is make the follow up calls.

Chef Tess said...

Hey...I think I know the student. How cool! Marsha and John are good people. BTW So are you guys!! Love you!!