I don't know why, but lately I have been unable to summarize any of the goings-on in my life without resorting to lists. Scroll down if you need any evidence of that. Even some of the posts that aren't actually lists are, in fact, lists of convoluted and unrelated thoughts. How sad for me. Or my writing abilities, rather.
In the discourse style of one Dallin H. Oaks, I will announce my topic at the beginning to avoid confusion. I have something to say about my ward. Ward number 218 of who knows how many, the ward to which I belong.
I moved into the 218th ward fresh off my mission, unsure of what I was returning to and 30 pounds heavier than I was when I left. The only things I had going for me re: my back-to-Provo lifestyle was cheap rent at my new house and a seriously unhealthy relationship with a boy who lived a solid hour away. I moved into a house with five girls I had never met--three were 18 and the other two were also recently returned missionaries. Plus: our house had chickens and a great landlord. Minus: I had no idea what I getting into whatsoever. I don't mean that in a positive way or a negative way, necessarily. It was just a total crapshoot. And we know how many of those work out, roommate-wise.
Fact:this crapshoot paid big. I pretty much loved this ward a lot as soon as I met the people in it. Chandler and Wills were there, friends from my freshman ward whom I hadn't seen in years. My roommates were fun and easygoing, and handled my dramatic break-up and subsequent months of depression with grace and compassion. From February to June, I worked full-time, had no friends, and came home every day only to sit on the floor in my garments and cry. A dark time. But like I said, I lived in the best ward ever, which got me out of my funk a lot faster than I would have otherwise.
This ward saw me through much more than just man woes, mind you. When my parents got divorced, God sent me a Chandler to listen to me vent and remain unperturbed by my swearing. And a Melanee to go with me to the temple grounds and walk around the grass with me, even though I didn't feel like talking. He also sent me a Robbie who read me his poems and never made fun of me for crying in front of him. Although now he occasionally teases me for only calling my hometeachers when I have big problems. Touche.
Anyway, I should not neglect to mention that about ten of us in the ward (I may be overestimating, but it FELT like about ten) were vegetarian, and the good man in charge of Break the Fast (the only church activity I attend with any regularity--I'm sort of a Weekend Mormon in that way) was conscientious of us and always made sure that there was vegetarian food available. Thanks again, Greg. All of my close friends with whom I spent any significant amount of time were in that ward, at least once Ashley and Brooke moved in. It was like Heaven for a while.
I should point out that all was not perfect in Zion, however. There were two very distinct social groups in the old ward: one of the fairly standard, khaki-wearing Mormon kids (who were nevertheless older than average and thus tolerable) and the gay/herbivore/weirdo kids. Only one of us that I can think of moved between the two groups with any great success*. However, laws of civility and mutual tolerance prevailed as long as no one brought up politics in Sunday School. Specifically evolution. And God help you if you did. Seriously, though, this was a really amazing ward. I loved it.
Then came August, a time of great sorrow not only due to the imminent loss of Gordon, but a change in command at the Bishopric level. I loved Bishop Andrus, who was an introverted, outdoorsy, non-meddlesome kind of guy. Kind of like Mister Rogers meets Jeff Corwin. This is not to say that our new bishop is the opposite of that, I'm just saying that I really, really liked our old one.
Anyway, our new bishop, bless his heart, looks exactly likes Daddy Warbucks and reminds me a bit of him, personality-wise. I find him very intimidating, and he tends to put a lot of pressure on his ward-ees (?), which Bishop Andrus never did. This new bishopric puts a LOT of emphasis on dating, and getting married, and fulfilling "appropriate" gender roles (which I could write another entire tome about, luckily I'm tired so I'll spare you).
As if that change weren't enough to deal with, the Stake Presidency (also new) changed all the ward boundaries, and moved all my friends into the next ward over, leaving me all alone. I went to Bishop Warbucks and asked if I could move to that ward, too, especially since the bishop of that ward used to be in our bishopric and I already know and like him. But he fed some some lines about rules being rules and making new friends, and that was the end of that. Fascists.
Just kidding! I don't want to sound like I have a bad attitude. I'm doing the best I can, and frankly, I'm a little grateful that my current ward situation is such that I won't be terribly sad to leave it in a few months. I know that sounds awful, but I think God is just trying to make moving a little easier for me. You can't be blissfully happy forever. God always notices.
So now I'm in a ward where I am the only weirdo (well, one of two ... and there's one other, but he works on Sundays). I spend a lot of time during the flirting lessons (no joke) in Relief Society rolling my eyes or reading the Bible Dictionary. I may take up knitting again.
All this background information and whining is meant to make the following statement all the more amazing and miraculous:
Last Sunday, I sat through Ward Conference and Relief Society and I didn't cringe once.
Either the ward is getting better or I am getting more tolerant to Mormon cultural quirks.
Pretty sure it's the former.
*It was Wills.