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The Best Calling: Thoughts on a Harvest

by Caroline

I have the best calling ever: Humanitarian Coordinator. Essentially, I am responsible for finding worthwhile projects or causes in the community to promote within the ward. I usually have some kind of big project every three months or so.

In the past we’ve done Habitat for Humanity, Valentine’s gifts for women in a battered women’s shelter, Adopt-A-Family for Christmas, a 5k run to help abandoned babies, school supplies for an orphanage in Uganda, and most recently, gleaning a field for produce to be donated to a local food bank.

Some of the neat things about the calling are a) getting to focus on community events that particularly resonate with my ideals b) being able to get out in the community and do worthwhile things that are outside our normal experience, and c) the insights gained from doing these things that are a bit out of the ordinary.

Last Friday, after our gleaning activity, I was struck by a few things. Getting those carrots out of the ground was unexpectedly hard work. Often I would slave for 5 minutes trying to get just one measly carrot out of the ground. I had a whole new respect and appreciation for the difficult job farm workers do day in and day out. I also began to reflect with some shame on the amount of produce I throw away, just because of bad planning and/or laziness. And most surprisingly, I sort of gained a new appreciation for dinner time prayer. I’ve never cared much for the ritual, but now I can see how meaningful such a ritual could be, particularly when one has worked so hard for a harvest and when just one carrot might be the difference between your child going to bed hungry or not.

This has by far been the best calling I’ve ever had. What has been your best calling?

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women’s Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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  1. ZD Eve says:

    Caroline, that sounds like a great calling. Your description makes me want to be your assistant and learn from you!

    My favorite callings have all been teaching callings–whether nursery, Beehives, Relief Society, or gospel doctrine. I’ve found a lot of satisfaction in having a class for long enough to get to know the people in it at least reasonably well and doing my uneven best to minister to them.

    On the other hand, I generally hate administrative callings. I have no gift whatsoever for administration, and I don’t enjoy it at all.

  2. Jessawhy says:

    Caroline,
    I love that your calling allows you to support worthy causes.
    (I will use this as a shameless plug for my worthy cause: our Hemophilia 5K Walk.)
    http://www.active.com/donate/hemophiliaWalkAZ/blazingsteeds

    But, in answer to your question, my best calling is when I am in between callings 🙂
    Actually, I really loved being compassionate service leader. It was a lot of work, but people were so grateful for the service and love they received from the ward. I was more understanding and less judgmental of the women in the ward as a result of serving in that calling.

  3. ZD Eve says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention Primary pianist, which is a such an excellent way to enjoy the kids without having to discipline them, and also a great way to play the piano badly without anyone much noticing.

  4. Melissa says:

    The best calling I’ve had is the one I’m in right now — Primary music leader. There’s an element of performance, which I enjoy, and I find that most Sundays the kids in the branch are really excited to be in Primary and excited to sing. I’ve never seen anything close to that level of excitement in Relief Society or Sunday School. The kids wave their hands wildly for a chance to participate and love it when they get to come up to the front of the class to “help.” It’s a bit exhausting, but hugely rewarding. (One 4-year-old colored a picture for me and told her mom: “This picture is about love. It’s for Sister Terry because she taught me all the songs I know about love.” The love picture is still on my fridge.)

  5. AnaCA says:

    That is a super cool calling.

    I loved serving in Young Women. I was not really the best at it, but I loved the girls and I loved teaching them the core principles of the gospel to a significant depth. I hope it helped build the foundation they will need as they go on in life.

    I also loved teaching gospel doctrine, although I only got to do it for a few months before we left our U of U student ward (this was when my husband was getting his Master’s). The course was the New Testament that year. Great experience for me – I always learn the most when I am forced to prepare to teach.

    But I still aspire to be the Primary pianist.

  6. I really loved teaching Gospel Doctrine, for a total of six years between two wards. I’ve also had just about every music calling there is. Most recently, I was RS pianist, which is the easiest calling there is (for me, anyway)–just show up, and play the piano a little at the beginning and at the end of RS. Good thing it’s so easy, since I’ve been filling in a lot since being released while they search for a new pianist. My own new calling is Enrichment leader, my first calling in the RS. Anyone know of any websites/listservs for feminist Enrichment leaders?

  7. Kiri Close says:

    I’ve fallen in love with the Young Women’s program – unexpectedly tossed into it over 2 years ago in Boston. In our new branch in Nebraska, I am again with these young, fun souls.

  8. AmyB says:

    Being ward organist was my favorite calling (one I held in several different wards).

    What struck me here was your newfound appreciation for the farm workers. One of my favorite mealtime prayers that I often use is “We thank the many beings who helped bring us this food.” It’s from Thich Nhat Hanh. When I really reflect, I think of everyone from the farmers, to the truck drivers, to the grocery stockers to the people who prepared the meal. It’s quite remarkable how interconnected with so many people along the supply chain we can be . . . and I try to feel gratitude for each.

  9. EmilyCC says:

    You do have about the best calling, Caroline. I’m completely jealous of having a ward focus so much on service (is this a ward calling or a RS one?)

    I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed Primary. It’s been really good for me to get back to basics–faith, charity, obedience (even!). There’s beauty in that simplicity.

    And, I have the freedom to make sure that my sharing time stories have a diverse range of characters.

  10. Katya says:

    Ward organist. Nothing keeps you awake in Sac. Mtg. like the terror of having to play the piano with your feet. 😉

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