As a male I don't usually get to receive the benefits of the Relief Society. I mean I get the benefits of their smiling faces and their wonderful company on dates and whatnot but I don't get that sense of community and sisterhood that a regular member of the Relief Society SHOULD get. Instead as a man I am subjected to the Elder's Quorum. Now I may be entirely off base when I say this but, at least with my experience with a singles ward EQ there is no community or real togetherness. Rather it's a bunch of males sizing each other up as competition and declaring themselves superior in some way to make themselves feel better. The sisters have enrichment where the get together and talked and craft and learn skills that better themselves as people while also growing closer together as sisters. The men however have "Manrichment" where we sit around and watch sports, or play video games while eating pizza and beating each other up either physically or via the bloody games. I think that just made my point for me. I do have some friends in the EQ, but for the most part I keep to myself and I find myself making friends with the sisters which probably bothers oh so many of my brethren which I will admit is at least part of why I do it.
Anyway back to what I was trying to talk about before I tangented myself into dangerous territory - the Relief Society. I honestly do think that the strength of any good ward is in it's sisters. Earlier this week my mom went in for gastric bypass surgery. After she was released from the hospital she was required to stay in a hotel here in Seattle in order to recover fully and make sure there were no complications. She couldn't just go home because she lives in Prosser and that's too far from the hospital for them to get to any problems in a timely manner. I tried to get the time off from work so I could stay with her all day while she was in the hotel but unfortunately a coworker had already requested the time off and I was the only other keyholder available to close the store so I couldn't get the time off I needed. What commenced was a stressful week of me trying to figure out how to ask for help and who to turn to. Naturally I turned to my friends from the church and I also talked to my boss about working my schedule so I was working the least amount of hours possible while my mom needed me.
I heard very little back from anyone that could actually help me. I had friends in Idaho and the Tri-Cities say they would help me in a heartbeat if they could. My EQP and friend Carl volunteered for the first night with my mom which was a huge load off my shoulders. Then my good friend Laura called and said she could help the second because it's her spring break. I had Sunday off thanks to my wonderful boss Wes, and then I started to get phone calls and emails from other SISTERS in the ward offering their time to help. A lot of them couldn't actually help but they sent their prayers and well wishes anyway. Then my friend Megan volunteered for Monday and it looked like all the shifts that I had told people about were filled.
One little problem - when I sent out the email I miscalculated when my mom was getting to go home. I thought she was leaving on Tuesday because that was the fifth day. It turns out that she needed to stay for five NIGHTS and so once again I was left with an open day. Miraculously I didn't even need to ask for help. Sunday in the morning I got a phone call from Whitney in my ward's Relief Society presidency making sure that I had all the days covered and asking if there was anything she could do. I mentioned that I still needed Tuesday night covered and she said she was going to take care of it. I felt relieved as I passed on the information that she needed and I went about my day believing that someone would come through and that Tuesday would be okay.
After church Whitney called me and said that not just one sister but two of them volunteered to help on Tuesday and that Erin would be there from 4-7 and that Geneva, a sister that met me for the first time a week ago, would watch her from 7 until I got home from work. Everything worked out and on top of it all my mom has been feeling better and better as the days go on. I can see her strength returning and her spirits lifted and I can't help but think that while spending time with me is part of the reason for it, I really think that being able to see that other people who don't even know who she is care about her enough to take 4-6 hours out of their day and spend it taking care of her out of the kindness of their hearts is a much bigger part of it.
I just wanted to take this time to say thank you to all of you who helped, or promised to help, or wanted to help my mom this past week. Specifically Laura O'Brien, Carl Cutler, Laura and Byron Schmidt, Megan Wixom, Erin Leigh Chapman, Geneva Pelfrey, Whitney Thompson, Rachael Knudsen, Aimee Elber, Andreanne Loiselle, Jon Cox, Derek Child, Kurt Kaiser, Brian "Little Bingo" Stephens, and Wes Miller. Without you guys working with me I really don't know how I would have survived these five days. Both my mom and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being the single most amazing people that I know. I love you all, and I never say that so you know I mean it.