Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Calling I Never Want

I love Relief Society Presidents! I can’t think of one I haven’t. But I often wonder how the Lord chooses the amazing sister who will love unconditionally all the sisters and their families, and meet their numerous needs.

Here is how I imagine it happens:

(The Bishop’s office-early evening, it can be any time of year, but somehow I picture this taking place in January-you know new start of the year).

Bishop: Good Morning, Sister Potential. Do you know why I called you into my office?

Sister Potential: (brushes a lock of her long hair out of her photo-shopped eyes) I have no idea. (And she doesn’t, she is that humble).

Bishop: Before we begin, let me ask you a few questions.

Sister Potential: Absolutely (smiles with her polished teeth glinting in the florescent light).

Bishop: I understand that you know how to sew.

Sister Potential: Only a little. My husband’s suit didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to. The left lapel was off by an eighteenth of an inch.

Bishop: I see. What about your cooking skills?

Sister Potential: Oh, dear. Did my husband tell you I burned the last batch of cookies? (She blushes). My neighbor came to the door. Her son was blue. He was choking. What could I do, I mean calling 911 would have taken too long. After I performed the Heimlich on him and calmed her down, I smelled them crisping away. The last batch was a little brown around the edges. But it was alright, because I’d made enough to spare. Between my daughter’s school party, the cookie exchange, and the two new families who moved in, there were maybe only six dozen left. I sent two dozen home with my neighbor and a Book of Mormon. And we’re all so excited that they are getting baptized. Did you know that her parents are also taking the discussions? I suppose we never know how many apples in a seed.

Bishop: Good, then I see that covers several topics I wanted to discuss with you—medical training, community involvement, and missionary work.

Sister Potential: Oh, it’s just a little thing, really.

Bishop: Now, Sister Potential, I have a very important question to ask you. How is your scripture study and personal prayers? And I need to know if you are attending the temple regularly?

Sister Potential: (dips her head in shame). Oh, Bishop, this is where I really struggle. I tried so hard this week to get that in. Between my walk at 4:39AM and the baby’s waking at 6:00AM, I’ve only been able to get in 47 minutes daily this week. Once Jr. is through teething, I’ll go back to my regular hour. And as for my personal prayers, I never miss those. Although, now that Zack is going to early morning seminary, we have to wake all the children at 6:22 so that we’re all together for family prayers. It’s been a tough week for temple attendance. You know that Brother Potential was promoted to CEO. We’ve missed three days this week. But we’re revamping our schedule so that we can do double sessions on Friday and Saturday, and maybe sneak in one on Tuesday evening while Liza is home from college. Once she gets married to her returned missionary, I don’t know how we’ll manage. You know her fiancé is going to med school.

Bishop: I see that you are committed to the gospel. I only have one more question for you Sister Potential. And this is the most important one. Do you scrapbook?

Sister Potential: (with tears in her eyes, she grabs for the Kleenex box on the corner of the bishop’s desk). Oh, Bishop, I need to repent. I’ve bought all the supplies. The photos are in organizer boxes by year, just waiting for me to get to them. I’m so ashamed to admit to all the paper in my craft cabinet. I haven’t been able to work on any of the books this month. But I promise, I’ll get to them in February, after the wedding. You know since Liza wanted all those handmade centerpieces… (she trails off something unintelligible into the tissue.)

Bishop: (leans across the desk) You know Sister Potential, that the Lord only issues calls according to our availability, not our capability.

Sister Potential: Yes, Bishop, I know (dabs her eyes—of course no mascara or make-up has been altered.)

Bishop: The Lord has called you to be the Relief Society President.

Sister Potential: Oh, dear. I don’t know if I can fulfill such an assignment. I feel so inadequate. But if this is what the Lord wants, then I will do my best.

Here’s how my interview would go:

Bishop: I hear you come to church every Sunday.

Me: Yes, and sometimes I’m in my seat before the opening prayer.

Bishop: That’s good. Hey, I was wondering, if you’re not too busy or anything, the Lord would kind of like you to be the Relief Society President—the last six said, “No.”

Me: (passes out)

Bishop: Sister Love, Sister Love! (Opens door). Brother Executive Secretary, Would you call the next person on the list? We lost another candidate.


  1. LOL! Did the next candidate accept?

  2. Betsy, I love you. This is hysterical. Only for me it didn't happen in January. It happened on Mother's Day. LOL thanks for the smile, Betsy.You rock.

  3. My daughter and I are rolling on the floor. Please tell me you write humorous fiction!

  4. This is really funny....If only LDS women wouldn't really feel that they need all those pre-requisites to be a Relief Society Pres.... Have a great day. Thanks for the laugh

  5. I had NONE of those pre-requisites when the bishop called me (2 years ago March, not January). I broke down and sobbed in his office, telling him he couldn't possibly be serious. He was. I was released last Sunday and am hoping to get over my shell-shock while serving as Primary pianist.

    (Oh, yeah, and you know what happens to people who say they never want a particular calling, don't you? Been there, done there. I'd look out if I were you!)

  6. My Bishop said, "Well, you were released from being a counselor in the stake YW, and we neede a new RSP. I thought about Sister _______, but she's been it before, and you haven't, so I'm calling you to it. It took 5 years to finally decide it didn't matter if the Lord called me to it or not. It needed to be done, and I was available. Then I was finally released.