Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Last weekend our stake had a relief society meeting where the stake president spoke. I love these meetings. The people-watching is fabulous and it’s an opportunity to connect with old friends from my former ward and also a chance to make new friends. I can’t have too many friends.

In his talk, Stake President quoted Mosiah 18:9 in the Book of Mormon, where Alma, inviting the people he’s teaching to be baptized, explains a little about the covenant they will make. “Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.”

I have heard and read this scripture many times, but this time it made me consider my own baptismal covenant, that I have made and renewed again and again. It made me ask myself, do I mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort? And I have to say, yes—although I am not the most compassionate person I could be, I can offer a kind word to someone who needs it, and never turn away someone who truly needs my help. But then, do I stand as a witness of God all the time? I have to admit that I don’t. It makes me feel a little guilty.

So I have this new friend in the ward named A—. She’s also a writer, and although she seems much more serious about getting published than I am, she has a husband and four children that dominate her time, so she’s working slowly on her writing project. I admire her persistence in the effort. I guess that I write fiction mostly to entertain myself, because the stuff I write I certainly wouldn’t want to share with my church friends. A— has pressed me a little. She seems curious about my writing. But I have a perfectly clean and heterosexual romance posted on Goodreads for all to see, and despite knowing about it, she hasn’t even read that. So do I take her interest seriously? I have pressed her about her writing too, and she actually emailed me her first two chapters, which were really short, but at least I read it.

I’d like to get to know her better. I don’t have a crush. I like her because she’s kind. She shows interest in me. She’s quirky and interesting. And she’s warm and compassionate.

During the meeting referred to above, as I was listening to the speaker I started to feel sleepy, so I leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees. A— was sitting next to me and she reached over and began scratching my back. It was totally unexpected, but I can’t even describe how good it felt. I know she didn’t mean anything by it, so I can’t even read anything into it. It just felt so good to be touched in an affectionate way. Sure, I get affection from my nieces and nephews all the time, but I know don’t know—it just felt nice.

A— is one of those people I could talk to. She may be one of those people I could explain things to—like why I write what I write and why I won’t share it with her.