I loved the Young Women program. I loved the beautiful, amazing women who were called to be my leaders. I wanted exactly what they had: strong testimonies and handsome, loving husbands and children. Because they had just what I was hoping to get, I listened to what they taught and watched what they did. I admired them and I believed them.
I loved attending Sunday meetings. I sat on the third floor of our chapel* during opening exercises at the huge table, made of a number of tables pushed together, and looked across at the Laurels on the other side. I dreamed of the day I would be in high school and would be smart and dating and, hopefully, one-tenth as beautiful as those girls.
I loved it when my teacher brought a basket full of freshly baked muffins or cookies to class. I loved the object lessons. I loved when they spoke about the things that mattered most to them and I felt the spirit and was changed.
I loved our diverse group of girls. I enjoyed it very much when the girl who was a year younger than me and had family problems came to church. She wore black and looked down and covered her face with her platinum blonde hair. If you ever caught a glimpse of her eyes, she was rolling them. I considered it my unofficial calling to get her to smile. I fellowshipped her the only way I knew how. I was glad she took kindly to verbal irony.
I loved Wednesday activities. I relished the chance to hang out with my friends on a school night. I liked doing service projects and playing games. I loved the hope that I'd see whichever-boy-it-was-I-had-a-crush-on-at-the-time playing basketball. I loved the joint activities, especially the broom hockey in the cultural hall, despite the fact that I came home with bruised and bleeding shins from all the brooms that missed the "puck" (folded pair of socks) and bashed my legs instead. To this day that is the only "sport" I've ever felt a deep love for.
I have a daughter. She's twelve. Apart from our family, there are five church members in our branch. None of them are young women. In our entire district (4 branches scattered across southern Poland) there are a total of 3 or 4 other young women.
Ewelina does not have what I had. Honestly, she doesn't have anything close to it. I realize we are all given different experiences and we can each grow from the situation we find ourselves in. It's still really hard. As long as 7 years ago or so I told people who asked that we would probably move back to the states by the time Evie was 12 so she could have the same character and testimony building opportunities that I had by attending Young Women.
But we're still here. She has contact with the other girls in our district. She is grateful, but it's not the same. She wishes she had what she saw this summer, when she was visiting her cousins in New Jersey. She misses what I had. I hugged her tonight as she cried about it, holding back my own tears.
And I need to find a way to be to her what my leaders were to me. But how!?! How on earth can I BE THAT? I need to be teaching her the lessons from the manual, but I should also be teaching my other three kids the lessons they should be learning in Primary. It is too much and I am weak and lazy.
Ev and I just sat down and talked about Personal Progress. I think she is excited. It is a fantastic program and will give her much of what I had and teach her the things she needs to know.
I am grateful for a Father who knows what we need and is ready to bless us with it. If we ask in faith, he will give it to us. I hope he will, even after having written a blog post about how the most I can expect to be given doesn't seem like enough. But I know that He can give whatever is required for Evie to develop a strong and sustaining testimony of the gospel. And, what it comes down to is that that is the thing I'm really after.
*our chapel was previously a country club. If you've watched God's Army you've seen it, when the missionaries are eating lunch on the terrace and the "Lamanite" calls down and preaches repentance to the inhabitants of Hollywood.