(I think I should quickly explain some of this, for those that are not Mormons who have no idea what I am talking about. One of the characteristics in the LDS church is that we are organized by our geographical locations. Each unit of the church is called a Ward. A Ward is defined by a specific geographic area. Part of the logic in this outlining of boundaries is so that you will go to church with your own neighbors. And therefore build relationships of support within your own immediate community. All of our clergy and teachers are non paid volunteers living within those ward boundaries that are asked to minister and support those that live around them. For some, this might seem to be a burden; being "told" where and when to go to church. But for me, that has never been the case. I have never felt like anyone has "told" me where to go, and what to do. I feel that we are asked to follow these boundaries to best support those within our own neighborhoods. And I have always felt blessed by those that I lovingly consider my "Ward Family". The bottom line is that we want all of our members to be ministered to, loved, and accepted. And it is easiest to do this when they are in your community. Hope that was clear.)
I knew that today we would be learning about some boundary changes and that some of our Ward would be changed to participate in a new Ward. I pictured myself, writing my blog, sort of mocking the "mormon culture". I could make a point that boundary changes are like moving to another state while staying in your same house. The lines drawn around our homes to define a ward may as well be the electric fence surrounding District 12 in the Hunger Games. (This is where fellow mormons would laugh and nod). I could also joke that changing wards is as serious as severing family bonds with a simple line drawn in the sand. I sat in my "designated pew" at church and racked my mind for funny jokes and little mormonisms that relate to boundary changes, and reveled in the popularity this would bring to my little Blog. (P.S. we don't have designated pews... but, man, we are creatures of habit) But then they projected a map onto the wall for all of us to see. And the redline that divided our house from the rest of my friends' houses was as sharp of a shock as any electric fence could be. It's funny how without changing houses, or cities, or any move at all; I could instantly feel so far away.
Suddenly it wasn't funny anymore. Suddenly I couldn't laugh at the idea of being "banished" to another ward and disowned by my friends at church. It all became real.
A year (and some months) ago when we decided to move in to Jennifer's basement, and rent out our own house (to save on money while JT is back in school full time) I knew this was the place for us. I prayed and felt so strongly that the Lord wanted us to live here and not up in Seattle near campus. I felt it had something to do with saving money, supporting our friendship with Jennifer, living near close friends, and staying in our ward. I had no idea it would mean changing wards.
After the announcement, on our way home from church, Riley started crying. She doesn't want to move to a new ward. She doesn't want to make new friends. None of the other kids in the new ward will be at her school. She won't know anyone. She has a good point.
Of course, since no one is actually "telling" me what to do, I could stay in this ward. I could ignore the counsel (heck, I have 3 kids at church, I could say I was distracted and didn't even notice the map with the changes!), I could just keep coming to the same place with the same people. I could use the excuse that the house we own is still in this ward, and that eventually we may be moving back to that house. I could explain that my 3 year old does not do well with change and is going to scream and cry when she sees a new nursery. I could even point out how my daughter closed herself in her room this afternoon to cry because she was so sad. Any of those reasons would justify bending the rules a little.
But I am not interested in bending any rules. Not because I am a rule follower (which I am, and it drives me nuts!!). Not because I feel like someone is forcing me to make these changes (because I don't). Not because I think I am too good to bend a rule.
I don't want to bend the rules, because I believe in them. Really believe in them. I support the organizational structure of the church. I believe it is to the benefit of the members to be supported by their neighbors. I believe that these boundary changes are not implemented to make Riley cry or to pull me away from my friends (or the best calling ever!! Teaching Relief Society once a month!) or to test my faith. (Shockingly, I don't think that everything revolves around me... most things, but not everything.) I believe that this is done for the benefit and improvement of the members of the church. And since I want the improvement of all members of my church, I am willing to change wards to do that.
I don't know what the exact benefits and blessings will be by following this counsel. I don't know if Riley will end up loving it, if I will be strengthened by a new friendship, if JT will grow in a new calling. I do know that we will be blessed. We will be blessed for our obedience. It is the price I pay for peace. It isn't an easy price. And I don't do it out of guilt, or fear, or weakness. I do it out of love. And not just love for the members of the church, but love for my Savior. I also know we will be blessed for our willingness. Things always work out. It is that simple. And the more willing I am to submit my will to Heavenly Father's will, the sooner things seem to work out.
So Riley and I may be teary eyed for the next few weeks as we make the transition from old friends to new (while living at the same address, so weird) and Macie
P.S. Is it weird that I am most sad about changing Volleyball teams? I had so much fun on Tuesday playing with the Crestwood Ward! I don't think I will ever have that much fun again!! (insert Riley's pouty face and door slamming)