By Melissa Mc
I spent a glorious three day weekend with 5 girlfriends at the Memphis Time Out for Women.
We have been preparing this for months – so, in addition to the planned conference activities, we decided to take an extra day to go to the temple. Our husbands were well prepped for the extra day of child duty.
I am not a regular temple-attendee. The Memphis temple isn’t that far (2.5 hour drive) but trying to schedule a Saturday only temple trip around my work schedule, the kids’ Saturday basketball games, baseball games, husband’s theatre schedule, has always proved complicated. Lame excuse I know, but reality nonetheless.
I’ve never gone to the temple with girlfriends. What a joy it was to be with my sisters doing the work of the Lord. I wish we were closer so we could have a “temple night” much like we have our “book group night” or our “pottery night.” While in the changing room, one of my friends exclaimed, “I wish we could take a picture of all of us – we look beautiful!” We were simply angels on earth.
My mind and heart were full this past weekend. My PTA dilemma has clouded my life like a never ending fog. My chest aches when I think about it. I’m still trying to crawl deeper and deeper into my hole so the PTA minions can’t find me. As a result, my prayer that night in the temple wasn’t so much, “what should I do?” but, “Father, during this conference, please help me hear words from the speakers that might help me in my decision.” Easy enough right?
The session opened with a taped broadcast from Sheri Dew, who was overseas delivering books to children in Zimbabwe. Her message: “How do you measure the influence of a woman?” Her example – she cited that on any given day we as women come into contact with roughly 100 people – family, friends, co-workers, teachers, parents – anyone within your sphere of living. She said, “Of the 1200-1300 women here tonight – we have the ability to be a positive influence to close to 120000-130000 people!” Wow. It was within seconds my brain (or was it my heart?) said, “You need to be an influence in PTA.” Ugh.
The following session on Saturday featured Amanda Dickson. Amanda is a radio personality in Salt Lake City. Imagine Jane Lynch – the actress from Glee – mixed with a faithful church sister and you’ve got Amanda Dickson. Amanda talked about change and how fearful most people are of change. Her advice – treat change playfully, “Sometimes change is enjoyable, fun, and wonderful – you can even become good at it.” Change huh? Is someone trying to tell me this PTA thing could be, FUN?
Finally, if there is a baseball analogy to be found here, Mary Ellen Edmunds, was the closing pitcher – the final speaker to seal the deal. Her message was about resiliency and the resiliency of our forbearers and how we too must learn to be resilient. My notes from her talk only contain four words and they were “The pioneers didn’t quit.” She might as well have said, “PTA presidents don’t quit. ”She didn’t say, “give up” or “change their mind” or “do it later” she said, “they didn’t quit.” She then said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Can you imagine if modern day media had been around if they had quit? You would have had an interview similar to this:
‘So Bro Smith, what made you give up?’
‘Well, it was too cold, and we were hungry, and the kids wouldn’t stop complaining and those dang oxen were so slow, and what’s so great about Salt Lake anyway? From what I hear the place has a cricket problem.’”
Then she uttered, “It’s not endure to the middle, it is endure to the end.”
So ladies, it looks like I will be the PTA president next year. I will be nominated next Thursday during our PTA meeting. Wish me well, and if nothing else, it should provide a lot of MMW material for the next 12-16 months.
One final thought — this experience has also testified to me that if I’m going to endure to the end of PTA, I need to start freeing up a few more Saturdays to make the trek to Memphis.
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