Sunday, March 1, 2009

The List

This post is not going to be about The List by Melanie Jacobson, in case my title got you all excited.  Sorry about that.
When Anne, my 13 months-older-than-me-sister and I were young teenagers, we were always in the same Sunday School class for a year before she moved to the next class up and I stayed behind until we joined up again the next year.  We were a great little team of sassy but reverent, blonde know-it-alls.  We had our own clever answers to the teachers questions.  One of these (and, fine, the only one I can remember and possibly the only one we had) was really the answer to pretty much every question.  We would just answer by saying, "The List."

The List goes something like this (mine and Anne's; not Melanie's):
Read the scriptures
Say personal prayers
Keep the commandments
Go to church
Pay tithing

Last weekend we had a District Conference.  The mission president's wife asked me if I'd like to give a five minute testimony during the sister's meeting.  I said yes.  I was thinking, "Five minutes is pretty long, I'd better come up with a theme or something for my testimony."  I thought about it and tried to figure out how to be in tune with the Spirit, but didn't have any big revelation or anything.  While drying my hair that morning I thought that maybe I would just talk about "The List"  (mine and Anne's; not Melanie's)  How boring and generic, I thought.  But also how exceedingly important.  I asked Greg how you would say "smart-alecks" in the plural feminine (I know the word, of course, (I'm a mother),  but am not in the habit of putting it in the plural feminine)  Evie helped me with this too.

During the women's meeting first the visiting authority's awesome wife spoke.  I was busy with kids for her talk and much of the rest of the meeting and so I missed quite a lot of it, but things calmed down toward the end and I was able to listen to the end of the mission president's wife's talk.  She was talking about the basic things that bring us closer to our Father, reading our scriptures, daily prayer etc.  I was thinking, "Hey!  Will you listen to that!"  Then at the end she added her testimony to the visiting authority's wife  about how important it is for us, among other things, to be doing those basic things.  She ended and it was my turn.

We were all seated in a huge circle and it was so nice to look around at everyone while I spoke.  (and to have Aaron run to me across the length of the circle , or its diameter or whatever, exactly at the moment I mentioned how much I love my kids/being a mom) I talked about the list and how, even though my sister and I were being slightly sassy when we answered with it, it did give us an idea of just how important those things really are.  I said that over the years I have really learned by experience how much happier my life is and how much better things work out when I am keeping up with the things on that list, and that I know that they really are of the utmost importance.  And I said that I know for sure that this is the message that Heavenly Father had for this room full of his daughters, and that it meant that it is the time to reevaluate how we're doing on those things.

Evie's face was lit up the whole time.  She was smiling at me and nodding every now and again.  I've never seen her so attentive.  As I walked back to my seat by her she jumped up and gave me a hug (just like in the movies, except that we're not really like that.  This was actually very spontaneous).  I think when she heard me mention about Anne and me being smart alecks she realized that I really had been planning to speak about the same thing the other women had spoken about and it was a sort of spiritual experience for her.

So why am I telling you this?  Because I wanted to tell you about the list and then I kept typing and typing.  So there you have it. 
P.S.  Melanie's The List isn't actually a book yet.  It's still in it's manuscriptory stage.  But it will be a book.  Oh yes, it will be.  :)


Annette Lyon said...

This reminds me of something similar from my teen Sunday school days--I just might have to post about it sometime. :)

Lara said...

The Sunday School answers. REally are the most important, which is why they are the Sunday school answers. :)

Thanks for this post. You always have a way of lifting me.

Heidi Ashworth said...

What a neato experience! (My bil, who is all things wise, calls your list "shelf answers" as in, the ones we pull off the shelf every time we get asked a question but I like your "list" better.)

Barbaloot said...

My teachers used to always get mad at my standard Sunday School answer: Read the scriptures and pray. But c''s ALWAYS the answer!

Heather of the EO said...

What a beautiful thing for Evie to see. And for you to witness her "ah ha" spiritual moment.

(and hilarious how you kept clarifying about Melanie's The List)

McEwens said...

Back to the basics, what they teach us over and over!! GOOD JOB!

JustRandi said...

What a beautiful experience to have!!
I love that Evie got to be there for it. What a tease you gave her.
(Hey! I'm going to tell a bunch of adult church women that they're smart-alecs!) I'll have to remember that!

Anonymous said...

We had a list, too, only we called it the Primary Answers. You know, the answers to every question a primary teacher (or any church teacher, for that matter) asks. And we were pretty sassy, too!

Kazzy said...

One of the things that drew me to the church was "the list" because it asks us to be participants. So what that it is the same answers over and over again? It is true! Sounds like you and Evie had a sweet bonding moment there and that she really felt the spirit. So cool.

My hubby, who is a rhetorician, has given great advice on impromptu talks. You know, like when there is time left at the end of a meeting and someone asks you to share your thoughts on repentance, etc. He calls it S.E.E.T. Scripture, explain, example, testimony. It is a foolproof little formula that we have used to teach the youth in the ward so that they can be prepared to share without tons of notice. Sorry to comment with a post of my own. :)

Melanie J said...

Hee hee. Actually, I think I have this list, too.

Anne said...

Are you saying you can give a 5- minute talk in Polish!????! You are such a liar! That's a lot more than getting by at the market, Lisa!

And I love that notion from Kazzy's hubby! I'll have to remember it!

Josi said...

Years ago I heard a quote from Golden Kimball that said "If you're lucky enough to have spiritual experiences, for heaven's sake write it down!" I started my 'inspiration journal' because of that quote, where I right down spiritual experiences, moments of inspiration, and just those tender moments where you feel that connection. This would be one of them. Way to go.

Melissa Bastow said...

That's pretty cool. It makes me wonder how you say smart-aleck in Polish. And also I admire your sassy but reverent, blonde know-it-all attidude. When I was younger I was more of an obnoxiously boisterous, curly-haired girl that got kicked out of sunday school. My teachers loved having me. And I'm pretty sure I'll pay for all of this later... (yikes.)

Kimberly said...

How wonderful to see Evie's ah-ha moment like that - you rock. =)

charrette said...

We just talked about this very district conference (I think) in family night tonight. Our cousin's son is on a mission in Poland and he wrote and described this wonderful district conference with visiting had to be the same one! (Only too bad he's an elder so he missed the sisters' meeting!).

He talked about there being just one LDS chapel in all of Poland, and I told the family about the post you wrote a few months ago about driving...what was it...five hours to church?!?

Just wondering now...he said mission/district president shared a story called Anna's Prayer...which is the story of our great grandmother. Were you there for that part? (My mother-in-law told it a few years back in general conference.) I feel the world is amazingly small when I have a connection to, of all places, Poland. But the size and the scope of your heart seems to bring everyone closer.

charrette said...

Oh, and I was a similar smart-alec in my early teens. Our first Sunday in our new ward I told my teacher my name was Mirgatroid. (And she believed me! Called me that through the rest of the class! Bless her heart...)

But I'm a big believer in The List!

Sorry about the über-long comment!