Tuesday, November 10, 2015

THE Policy

I'm not going to try to go into all the ins and outs of my thoughts and feelings on the new policy that states that children with parents who have ever been in a cohabitating same-sex relationship cannot receive the same blessings and ordinances as children whose parents are not LGBT+. I'm not even going describe the policy. I am just going to say one thing. It is wrong to deny innocent children ordinances required for salvation and to place stumbling blocks before them.

God will fix this. I don't know how or when, but he will. And the meantime I'm just going to say my one thing: it is wrong.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mrs. Riggs

A lot of the people I am grateful for in my past are teachers, but librarians also have a huge permanent spot in my heart. I’m pretty sure that my patronus is a librarian. (Unfortunately, I am a Hufflepuff and never did manage to get the patronus charm down well, so I can only assume.)

For the most part I’ve forgotten almost all of my librarians’ names. Not Mrs. Riggs though. She was my grade school librarian and she was ridiculously kind to me. She knew all the good books, film strips, and records and never batted an eye when I managed to talk my teacher into letting me out of class (which I hated) to go watch my Greek gods and goddesses film strip again.

Her little haven of books was my favorite place in the school. Loved it more than the playground. Certainly more than the classroom. I loved Mrs. Riggs more than any student in the school and more than all but one teacher. She had two things I value above all others, kindness and a really great collection of books.

 I was so disappointed by the junior high school library. It was run by managers who were always in the back, telling the student volunteers what to do. If my high school had an adult librarian, I never saw any evidence of it. I failed to be impressed by school libraries again until I was in college. For some reason, the University of California, Davis’ library, where my mother worked for a time, seemed rather commonplace to me, but BYU’s Harrold B Lee library filled me with awe.

Years later I was in my elementary school library and picked up a book that had fallen out of popularity—Twenty and Ten, I think. It still had my name written on the card a half a dozen times. I was just flooded with lovely library memories. And when the Yvil sister became a substitute teacher for a while about a decade ago, she ran into Mrs. Riggs who remembered her. Twenty years after the fact.

She also sort of remembered me. “There was another one of you. She talked. A lot.” Oh, yes, indeed, I did. How could I resist? A kind adult with rooms full of books that she couldn't wait to share with me. You betcha I talked with her. A lot. Bless her lovely soul!

This could be an actual picture of a patronus for bibliophiles.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Two Elaines

This the first of my posts Giving Thanks for People in my Past.

Thought I'd hit both Elaines in a single post. First things first: I have never known an Elaine who wasn't a beautiful person. It's one of the reasons my oldest is named Elaine. The other two reasons are:

1. My aunt Elaine.

My mother's older sister Elaine was a small fiery creature. I've heard hilarious stories about her temper. But that's not what I remember about her. I remember her kindness and her love of Jesus.

My mom was a very young mother, seventeen when I was born, and she received a lot of help from family while she finished high school and then as she was working. Elaine was my second mom when I was small and I adored her.

One of my earliest memories is of waking up with the stomach flu while I was at her house. I remember her calm patience. I remember her gently washing the vomit out of my hair and reassuring me again and again that it was going to be okay and that she wasn't mad about the mess I'd made. I remember her making me feel like the most gifted person in the world when I got my cousin to burp. I remember her not laughing her tail off when I sprayed Lysol in my eye wondering what it would feel like. I remember hours and hours of fun with her and her babies.

She worked with the kids at my church too. I remember her singing with me about Jesus. I have a very distinct memory of a call and response song asking why I loved Jesus (because he first loved me). I knew he first loved me because she told me he did. That is no small gift.

When I was five, she died from liver disease, the same liver disease that had plagued her the entire time she was doing all those wonderful things with me. I've never stopped missing her. I'm certain that, had she lived, I would have had a more complicated relationship with her, as my conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints flipped out the rest of my Southern Baptist family. Perhaps I wouldn't have found her fiery temper so amusing if it was aimed at me, but as it was, I just had a loving aunt who was there for me whenever I needed her. 

2. An Elaine I hardly knew who gave me one of the most generous gifts I've ever known. 

This Elaine was someone who knew me when I first joined the church. She and her husband decided that I ought to go to BYU and so they paid for my tuition for both years I attended. (One of those years was after a significant stock market crash which hit them hard and they still helped me.) All that they asked is that I pay it forward when I got a chance. After my mission, I transferred to a local college. Since my family had moved out of my hometown, I wasn't in the same ward anymore. I lost touch with her. But I didn't forget. And I'm still working on that pay it forward thing.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Giving Thanks for People in my Past

This November I've decided that I am going to write a series of posts thanking people from my past, many of whom have moved out of my life now, but who have touched me, served me, changed me in beautiful ways. Some have died. Some were never close enough to keep in touch. Some were far too close and needed distance to move on with their lives. Some just drifted off. I just want to share in a reasonably lasting way some of the people who have blessed me.