Sunday, January 22, 2012

52 Blessings – The Club of Clubs

Yesterday, I wrote a random question in an e-mail asking Michelle, Ande, Grace, and Cali, “Any of you ever belong to a club growing up? A club you organized?”

Michelle answered, “My brother and I started a ‘bravery club’ when we were kids. Our neighbor's mom didn't like it because you had to ride down the hill on a skateboard, face first on your belly to be in the club. Needless to say, it didn't last.

Ande replied, “I wanted very badly to be in the Lisa Frank fan club...alas it was $13. I didn't join.”

Grace wrote, “I wanted to be in the Lisa Frank club, too! But never got to. I was part of the American Girl club though and remember reading the magazines and being so excited to see what paper dolls I would get. I still have a bunch of the paper dolls. I always wanted an American Girl doll, but never got one because they were way too expensive.”

Cali said, “I got a kick out of the Bravery Club... ha ha ha.

“Grace, I remember the American Girl's club and wanted to be a member... but didn't. My friend Nikki would show me her paper dolls though.

“Ande, I bet our neighbor Leigh was a member of the Lisa Frank club.

“I was in the Baby Sitter's Club when I was in second grade. There were 4 of us. Weekly dues were $.10 and we never got a babysitting job... not a very good club.”

I had one very short stint as club member.  One of the sixth grade girls invited a few of us first grade kids to be in her club.  I should have been suspicious from the invite, why wasn’t she out playing with the other six grade girls?  We were supposed to meet at noon in the school library.  I attended a country school and our library was half the size of a bedroom – with no librarian, but after lunch four or five of us met at the library.  First thing Joanie said we had to do to be in her club was to go behind the bookcase and kiss the boy she sent in to us.  We scattered.  There was no second meeting.

Each week I wonder which blessing for which to publicly express appreciation.  There are literally thousands of choices – from the air I breathe to the carbon dioxide I exhale.  But, all of that casual talk on clubs yesterday reminded me of a blessing that I’m very grateful for this week:  my membership in Relief Society.  Relief Society is the women’s organization in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it is the club of women’s clubs.  But, it’s more than some club, it’s an organization that is open to all with its purpose to build personal righteousness, strengthen our families and homes, and provide relief to others.  I looked forward to the time I would be old enough to join it, and have been grateful for my membership every year since then. 

Relief Society could be called a club of bravery.  One of our responsibilities as members of the Relief Society is to go visiting teaching each month.  Members are assigned fellow “sisters” to watch over, care for, and include.  One of the women I was once assigned to visit teach was Lorie.  No one had met Lorie though she’d lived in our area for several years.  I was assigned to make contact with her, invite her to come back to church, and be her friend regardless of whether or not she wanted to join us at church.   The first month I went to Lorie’s house and was greeted by her dogs.  Big dogs.  Dogs that barked.  Dogs that lunged at the fence trying to break it down.  Dogs that gnashed their teeth.  Dogs that loved Lorie and didn’t mind eating you alive.  Lorie didn’t answer the door that first month, nor the second, nor the third, nor the fourth.  After that startling first month of being greeted by her dogs, I thereafter pulled in to Lorie’s driveway as carefully as I could, quietly opened the car door, and ran as fast as I could to her front door.  I’d hang an ice cream bucket full of treats on the doorknob as well as a message for the month, then run back, jump in the car, and slam the door while I waited to see if Lorie would answer the door.  Each month I had two goals:  one, that Lorie would open the door and two, not to get eaten by her dogs.  Both goals were met.  Lorie did finally open the door and we became fast friends, even her dogs became my friends.  Five hundred miles later and we’re still good friends.

One thing Relief Society isn’t is an American girls' club.  It is a club of women all over the world.  I have a friend serving a mission in Africa and she writes about the work they’re doing in Relief Society and it’s just like what we’re doing in Moses Lake.  If I attended a Relief Society anywhere in the world, I would find women who, just like me, are trying to improve their personal righteousness, and strengthen their family and home while caring for others.  Women of all races, ages, languages, sizes, and circumstances belong in one organization and because our core desire and purpose are the same, it is a very efficient one-size-fits-all organization.

I’ve gained skills in homemaking, teaching, and life from Relief Society.  I’ve gained friendship, fellowship, love, education, and care from Relief Society.  I have gained a better perspective about my roles in life through Relief Society.  It’s been a grand blessing. 

Relief Society General Presidency (l-r)
Silvia Allred (1st Counselor)
Julie Beck (President)
Barbara Thomspon (2nd Counselor


Deidra said...

Amen! I love Relief Society.

I got the American Girl magazine, but the dolls were (are) too expensive so I got a knock-off for Christmas one year. I think my mom just recently got rid of my years worth of magazines.

Deanna/Mimi said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story about you and Lorie. I wish you would submit it to the Ensign as it is a very touching story and it would have a positive effect. After the second month I would have given up, but you didn't and you never would have. This story says so much about you and the woman you are...truly beautiful in so many ways.

michelle said...

I love Relief Society as well.

I remember my grandmother (who only had an 8th grade education) telling me that she received her education from Relief Society. She was one of the most educated, refined women I have ever known, so my estimation of Relief Society grew by leaps and bounds that day.

Cali said...

Oh hoooo! I got a kick out of your club encounter. Kissing a boy in the library to make the cut... so funny. I am still chuckling about that. I LOVE RELIEF SOCIETY. When I got put into Young Women's, I almost counter offered with let me go to RS every other week... okay? Thanks for this mom. Still chuckling.


Becky said...

I *love* Relief Society! I chuckled at your girls' comments about clubs...