My Day – A Major Change

Today, my parental units came out from Redlands to visit me, as did my older brother Mike’s family from Calimesa. They came to my ward (the Wilshire Ward, in the unlikely event that you’re keeping track) and after church joined K, S and my wife’s family over at my in-laws’ place for luncheon.

The occasion that prompted them to come visit was that today I was sustained and set apart to the calling of elders quorum president. Wow, getting those links set up reminded me that we Latter-Day Saint folks use a lot of specialized vocabulary. At least I’m not slinging acronyms right now…

Anyhow, back to the highly abbreviated story of the day. My parents and assorted relations wanted to be with me today because this is the heftiest position of priesthood leadership I’ve ever been called to, and the family felt it was important to support me on the occasion. That’s good because it was important to me that they be there too. 😉 Now, I’m no fresh-faced kiddo that’s just been dropped in his first leadership position or anything like that – with this calling, I’ll have been the president or otherwise man in charge of every ward-level auxiliary or Priesthood group that I can be without having to be ordained a high priest first, and some years ago I served as either secretary or counselor to two different EQ Presidents in the Centinela 1st Ward (secretary then 2nd counselor to Todd Adams, 1st counselor to his successor Tom O’donnell). In the Wilshire Ward, I’ve been the president of the sunday school, then young mens president jointly for the Wilshire, Adams and Olympic wards, then back to just Wilshire again to be ward mission leader. So I’ve got a decade of ecclesiastical leadership experience, but this will be the highest position of authority that I have been asked to fill to date, and it’s the kind of thing that one’s family tends to make a big deal out of, in a much different way than anything short of being called into a bishopric.

I’m glad that my father’s health allowed him to come out – his condition is growing increasingly precarious. I suspect that he won’t still be around when the time comes for me to be ordained a high priest (which I anticipate won’t be soon, and which I am in no hurry to have happen anyhow), though I really hope that he is, since if he is I want him to perform that ordination.

I was very touched at how Mark Bragg, our stake president, and the man that issued this calling to me in the first place, treated my father throughout all this. A couple of days ago when he learned from K’s dad (who is his stake clerk) that my father was going to be coming and that father’s balance makes navigating stairs treacherous for him, he arranged a change of venue for our priesthood meeting affecting scores of men in two wards so that we could hold it in a room that didn’t require going down a flight of stairs (I did not request this – he decided that it was the thing to do). Then, upon meeting my dad, President Bragg was very solicitous about his wellbeing and made sure to invite him (as well as my brother and nephew) to stand in the circle with him when he set me apart. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw President Bragg personally retrieve my dad’s cane for him after the setting apart (Dad used the brother at his side for support during the ordinance) and spoke to him with tremendous respect and deference. It was a small thing, but it meant a lot to me. This good man has never met my father before, and barring unusual circumstances they will probably never meet again. He does not know anything about him other than the fact that he is an elderly and frail but faithful Melchizedek Priesthood holder. Almost everything that man does causes him to grow higher in my esteem – I hold him in the deepest respect after all I’ve seen him do or say.

I feel humbled at this calling, and I know that it will be a considerable challenge for myself and my counselors. I must confess that I enter into it with a certain chagrin, but I also have faith that the lord will do his work through me if I act in love, humility and determination. May he grow me into the kind of servant that I need to be in order to succeed in this.

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