Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Stand All Amazed

Last week I was conducting second interviews for a position in my office. One of the questions was "would you describe yourself as an optimist or a pessimist?"

I've been considering it. Thinking about it. And I've decided that I'm undecided.

See, I always had myself figured for an optimist. I generally look on the bright side of things. I'm usually happy and upbeat and am usually pretty easygoing.

Up until last week, I would have responded to that question with an "oh yes, optimist, please!"

About this time last week, the sister missionaries called hub to tell him that "the daughter of an inactive family is getting baptized on Saturday. Oh, and, by the way another inactive member is moving into the ward on Saturday. Can you have a member of the EQ (Elders Quorum) at both things? I know it's kind of late notice, but. . . " So, hub makes sure someone will be at the big B. Then he calls someone else to see if they can go help with the move. Then he calls the sisters back and lectures them on how he's retraining the ward about ward moves and how they need to be better coordinated and such, and how he even has a handy dandy checklist he handed out in PEC (Priesthood Executive Committee) the week before.

I asked him how that little lecture went over with the sisters, all the while knowing exactly how it must have played out. He said "not well". And I said "exactly!" He asked "how did you know?" And I said "I used to be a missionary. I know that all you want to see is potential and you don't want some busy ward member with a somewhat bleary view of the importance of things telling you otherwise."

Then I started remembering all the times when, as a missionary, I saw things clearly. My view was unimpeded by things of the world and, because of this, I could see beyond ordinary things of the world like money or cars or other such triviality. I could see with my own eyes the worth of souls. All I could see was potential. And when ward members would come up to me and ask absurd questions like "why can't you teach people who have a little more money?" or "why can't you find some investigators who have cars so we don't have to give them rides to church?", my companion and I would calmly respond, "we teach the people who will listen to us."

OPTIMISM in it's purest and rarest form.

So. Sunday, I'm in church and I'm sitting next to this sister/neighbor/hilariously funny/almost-womanfriend and I say to her "So-and-so? You're name keeps coming to me. See, I'm supposed to teach the lesson in Relief Society next week, but I can't because I'll be out of town. And I've been thinking all week and your name keeps coming to me. Would you mind teaching it?"

Her response was unlike anything I've ever witnessed.

She exclaimed "Oh, CAN I!???" in this excited, borderline high-pitched voice, and followed it with "I would love to!"

Um. . . . Wow!

Although I surmise it might have something to do with her having been in the primary presidency for about 3.5 years and only recently being released, it nevertheless got to me. I mean, I always knew she was service-oriented, a quality I much admire in her, but her response still stunned me! There was this unabashed pureness to her desire to serve in my stead and I have no idea why, but it amazed me.

I've since schemed that I should hook her up with the sister missionaries and watch them go about doing wonderful things, but I'm sure the missionaries already know how great she is and vice versa.

So, compared to these pretty spectacular women, I can't unequivocally proclaim myself to be much of an optimist. No. I wave at them as they run laps around me, and then rush in to ride in the calm of the wake they leave behind.


AzĂșcar said...

I am an optimist who dabbles in pessimism.

Sue said...

Some people just REALLY like to teach. I personally would love for someone to ask me to sub. It's the frustrated show-off in me.

I was a pessimistic kid, but now I'm mostly an optimist.

heather said...

You are an optimist. You swim circles around them in some other area of life. Stop comparing!

Brenny said...

I overheard a conversation once in church between two ladies. They were discussing how frustrating it was when people said 'no, I'm sorry. I can't ________.' They resolved to make a concerted effort to say 'yes' whenever possible, no matter what. Maybe the former primary presidency sister was tired of people who said 'no', and decided she would be a 'yes' person.

And, yes, once I heard that the two ladies wouldn't say no to anything, I called them a lot.

Kimberly said...

I can't help thinking there's a nice inbetween place where (mostly) normal people live. =P

Beautiful story - thanks for sharing the insight!