Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away

About a month ago I got a new calling at Church. I keep saying I want a real calling, so I was excited with the Bishopric wanted to come over to figure out what we are good at  meet us. We have a guitar in our family room. I got is as a present one year and played it a little bit, but have since forgotten how to play. I do love guitars though, and I like having one in the front room. When people come over who know how to play, they pick it up and play some things and I love that. It also does a good job of hiding some unsightly cables.

So the bishopric knocks on the door, we let them inside and they immediately see the guitar and you can almost literally see their eyes light up. They dont jump right into the assessment of skills though. We talk for about a half an hour about life and our history, what brought us to Centennial etc. Then they say, "So what are you past callings?" Lucas has an impressive list to give them. (I know- all callings are important- but it does feel like a job interview) I tell them my last calling was to turn off the lights at the church and make sure the doors were locked every other week. Also to support Lucas in the bishopric of a BYU-I Single student ward.

The second counselor leans his head towards the guitar and hopefully asks "So you are pretty musical then? I see you play guitar!" and I say, "I have no musical talent, actually. I can't read music or sing and I played that about four years ago and can't remember anything." He looks disappointed. And because I feel some sort of maternal need to take care of everyone, I feel the need to make him feel better. I say, "I think my only real talent is working with children."  Relief washed over his face while Lucas' eyes almost get a glazed look as I'm sure he gets a vision of spending the next year in Nursery or as a Primary teacher.

We finish the meeting and say goodbye to the bishopric. Lucas says, "Yup. We're going to be in Primary!" (Primary is like Sunday school and singing time with 3  to 12-year-old kids)

A couple weeks later Lucas comes home from work and says, "The Bishopric will be here in 15 minutes. They want to talk to us. Callings."

20 minutes later I am asked to be the Primary Chorister. Enter terror and trembling.

I AM good with kids, but unfortunately, I am not a singer. And I'm not a soprano or even close to it. I also felt nervous about coming in not knowing the kids at all. I could have said 'Thanks but no thanks. I don't sing." but I firmly believe that if you are asked to do a calling in the church, even if it is a misguided call, you will be blessed to be able to fulfill it if you go into it with faith.

I was super stressed about it for a month before my first Sunday. Stress caused me to have night terrors about it. I dreamed my  mom was sitting with the youngest kids in a tiny chair and yelling out "You're doing this wrong! This is ALL WRONG!" It was horrible. (P.S. My mom is never critical. so that made it worse)

The night before my first Sunday, I stayed up all night coloring posters and making games to help the kids sing some songs and teach them a new one. I was prepared, but not ready. I guess the best way to learn is just to jump in, though. So Primary started and luckily, when it was my turn, it took just over 1 second in front of the kids to become comfortable. Working with kids is a talent of mine, and I just had to rely on it.

We played a Halloween game and sang about 5 songs in silly ways, then I started teaching them a new song. I think the teaching was rough and a little rushed, but for my first Sunday I think it was okay. I'm sure the only people who noticed my transitions were messy were the teachers, but they were all just happy to have someone else entertaining the kids. By the end of my time singing the kids were all happy. Sure, I had to sing a few of the songs out of the book because I didn't remember them, and maybe my 4:4 conducting turned into more of a Nike Swoosh mid-song, but it was still successful. I learned what I will do differently next time. I started learning some of the kids names. It was also really fun. I laughed at some of the things they said and it was fun to come up with an idea that got them so excited. I think I'll be okay.

The best thing about my first Sunday was help I got after prayer. I was so nervous that I showed up to church half an hour early. I sat in the chapel and prayed for help. I prayed that I could focus on teaching the kids and not be distracted with my inability to sing the songs or hit the high notes. Imagine my gratitude when it wasn't even an issue while i was singing. I sang the songs and hit the notes without even trying. And while that may not seem like a big deal to you, it was a miracle for me.

So looks like I'll be belting out songs about Popcorn Popping and Sunbeams 24/7 for the foreseeable future. My frown has turned upside down. I can do this. 

P.S. Lucas got called to be Elder's Quorum instructor. His first Sunday was good. He's a powerhouse and a fearless teacher. He wasn't even worried and when I asked him how it went he didn't even write a really long and detailed blog about it. He simply said, "It was pretty good!" and when he could tell I needed more details he said, " Not the best lesson in the world, but not the worst. So, yup." Sometimes I wish i could tell a story in so few words. (Don't hold your breath)


Natalie said...

Love this post, I know exactly how you feel. Primary chorister was my first "big girl" calling too and I was totally freaked out. It took a few months to really feel comfortable, but after that I really liked it. You get attached to those kids. Your mom was primary chorister when I was in the Park Meadows ward and everyone always talked about how awesome she was in there. I'm sure you take after her, and everyone will love you!

Anna Harrison said...

Well I DO sing and got this calling in my last ward and let me tell you- singing and musical ability is the LAST thing you need to do this calling. The first and most important is to be good with kids- and that was something I was NOT talented in and it was a train wreck. Every. Single. Sunday. Thank goodness we moved.

emily marie said...

"and he didn't even write a long blog about it!" Haha I love you, Amber. I'd jump back into Primary in a second if you were my music leader!