Last weekend, both sets of grandparents joined us at church. Mom and Dad Reed (who are currently serving a mission in Richmond, VA) drove up from their mission. In spite of Mom Abbe's illness, Mom and Dad Abbe drove 16 hours (one direction) to be with us. The occasion? My husband was set apart to serve in the bishopric of our church congregation. This is a big deal for him. In our church, the ministers are not paid; they volunteer their time. This new calling is a wonderful opportunity for service, growth, and testimony building.
This position in our church will also impact our family in terms of less time with Owen. His evenings and weekends will include church meetings, training, and administrative work. For Charlotte, the impact is personal. She said, "I won't be able to take a nap with Dad during sacrament meeting anymore!" Yes, they were sleeping partners during last year when Owen was working the crazy night-shift hours. But now, Owen will sit up on the stand with the rest of the bishopric.
As with any substantial change, I've been thinking about the "big-picture" questions lately: the purpose of life, the value of family, and what makes a life worth living. The answers I feel are most genuine are really the most simple. I feel as though I am at my very best when I'm invested in serving others. I've learned this from my own parents and in-laws who delight in service. I've learned this in the walls of my own home as I've tried to focus on my children. The tug and pull of self and service are real. Finding balance is a struggle. But the truth that people, and connecting, and working together bring joy is also real.
I take the most comfort in something my parents reminded me of as they were walking out the door, bags in hand, ready to drive back to Richmond. "Your life is mirroring our life," my mom said. "When you were a senior in high school, I served in the stake and Dad served in the bishopric." My memories of that time are sweet. It was a busy time, no doubt! I remember driving from event to event, often with my mom. I have a vague recollection of watching my dad sit on the stand or conduct sacrament meeting, instead of sitting next to us on the bench. These are happy memories. Good memories.
Memories worth repeating.