Visiting and Home Teaching: Good in Theory, Better in Practice

I come from a short line of pretty committed home and visiting teachers. My mother was the only Young Woman during her time within her area, and so she skipped Young Women’s completely and was sent straight to Relief Society. Maybe that is why she had a deep and abiding love of Relief Society and did her visiting teaching regularly.

My father has always been a committed home teacher. As there were not enough men, my mother was his typical companion. It was essentially extra visiting teaching, but with Priesthood around to make sure that the family’s needs were met.

My first experiences with personal home teaching dealing for myself were likely biased as they happened at a Church school. There were a lot of members of the Church around, and if someone missed for a month or two, I had no problems calling the home teachers and asking where they were or even calling the elder’s quorum president if I was unsure who my home teachers were. Skipping more than two months was unacceptable to me. I was a single, young, assertive woman. And I tried to do my visiting teaching, although I admit that it was much easier when I had partners who were willing to go.

I came to a new city, and home teachers were off and on. For when I had them and they came, it was great even if they weren’t about to be my best friends. At least someone could more-accurately report that I was actually fine, and know that I was not dead.

While serving a Church mission, my companion and I tried searching for a member. It turned out that he’d died three years prior and no one had any idea. The ward was severely over-worked and burnt out for the few active members there, so it would make sense that keeping up with home and visiting teaching would lack. However, they guy was dead. Three years prior. That’s sad.

My current ward has fits and starts. It’s probably pretty normal regarding home and visiting teaching. I came into this ward as a single older woman, and the home teachers were quite good once the leadership changed and I finally got assigned six months after moving in. They came almost like clock work. The visiting teachers lacked, but after six to nine months and only one visit, I figured I needed to make a call and get the assignment changed.

After getting married, now I am under stewardship of the elder’s quorum. I am a visiting teacher, and am assigned visiting teachees. For the last four to six months at least, I’ve been trying very hard to be a diligent visiting teacher. Most of the teaching is online or by text because making appointments with the sisters to come to their homes seems impossible.

Since we got married, we’ve been home and visit taught exactly once in close to six months. This lead me to think that being married means that we matter less than when we were single. We got checked off to happily ever after land? I love my husband, but it would be nice to even have someone want to come by even once a month.

I have been visit exactly five times since April or May 2010. Somehow I don’t think that maybe once a year average is a good thing. Less than that is tragic. It actually took some time for me to remember that many visits.

I know that I was never visit taught in the singles ward. I was visit taught exactly three times since changing to the family ward in 2012 to now, and one of those was helping me pack to move residences. In recalling the whole time, my family members have died, I moved cities, started school, and had a lot of life challenges without any support including from family. I was actively involved in the Church whenever I moved, before and after.

It’s close to the end of the month again, and my visiting teachers don’t say hi to me in the halls of Church, and don’t contact me outside of Church. Should I be the one to initiate everything? I seriously wonder what I did to become such a leper. Or am I not important because I am active?

When my husband and I first got married, we seriously considered only coming to Sacrament Meeting because no one cared whether we were there or not. We couldn’t afford a wedding reception anywhere, and the wedding was a distance wedding at a historic Church temple. The members of the ward didn’t know my husband that well and so people were watching and waiting to see what we would do and how we would act. Didn’t matter that I’d been stalwart for more than a year and served the ward on a regular basis prior to that. The only thing that changed was that there was a man around on a regular basis.

If leaders have any question about why members go inactive, look at home and visiting teaching. Even if the stats do not directly show causation, I can witness that there is absolute causation between the two.

There are more changes in my life and the only people that care are me and my husband. Perhaps I shouldn’t want any attention. Perhaps the theory that home and visiting teaching is supposed to look after people as Christ would is complete malarkey. I refuse to believe that the apathy of others is how Christ would treat me were He here.

We started working a lot with the missionaries because they like us and seem to care even if they rotate in and out. At least SOMEONE cares, or at least attempts caring, even if they won’t be around for more than six weeks at a time. My testimony of the Church is still there, even if I’m worn and frazzled and feeling very alone because of inaction. It is still completely unacceptable not to have regularly visiting teachers and home teachers, and I’ve had various teachers switched in the past because they simply would not do what they covenanted to do.

I know that home and visiting teaching are super important. Having lived for years without much of it, it’s dearer now than it ever was when it actually happened when I was a freshman in college when all that the women had to do was to walk down the hall to say hi to me and we were all brand-new at this.

Does it need to be harder for Church members to actually do it? Sure, people are busy, but so am I. You make time for your priorities and I’m just sad that their actions say that I don’t matter. It makes life tougher than it needs to be. I guess that it may be time for another phone call. I’m starting to get tired of caring. Should I keep doing my visiting teaching although no gives a whit if I get taught? (Yes.) I feel like sinking sand. Maybe I should see if anyone is actually willing to do their visiting teaching and then ask for them to visit teach me since my teachers are too busy to care. Sad, but still going and still (barely) trying.

Tomorrow Is Another Day, I Hope

I’m starting to wonder if God has me on a thin wire that that vibrates. It goes one direction, and the day is bad. The other direction, and it’s good. Every other day or every couple of days it seems like there is nothing more than a vibrating wave that if you look at it from a distance is just a thick line from the motion.

This week has been sad and disappointing. I learned about forgiveness a little, and learned that God must seriously ache when people do dumb things. There’s a fracture point in life where you can’t take more of something. At least, everyone else seems to have it excepting Christ.

Forgiveness was a reply to something that I did to make up for a mistake. The person had forgotten about what I’d done and didn’t seem to care. The thing that was getting to me and goading me for probably two years because I was too poor to make up for my mistake was something that didn’t bug them a whit, apparently.  I guess I get to chalk it up to the person having been as shallow as a petri dish and continuing on that route. My husband helped me see that some people choose to be happy because they never let unhappiness come into their sphere. It’s a matter of arm candy, and not seeing or giving validity to hurts imposed upon others.

Yeah, I got bruised, broken, and had a case of PTSD-style trauma for a while afterwards. Ripped my confidence into confetti and made me want to hide into a turtle shell. No one should do that to anyone else (or themselves, if that’s possible). What my husband helped me see was that God shows ALL of our warts at the end of life in judgement. It’s up to me to do my best to get over it. Not to hurt the clawing minx cause honestly, she’s a cat who only wants a very safe, unambitious sphere. She wants a basic life without the adventures that paying attention to other’s needs requires. Although selfish, thoughtless, and vain, it is a way of looking at life. And it takes me a lot of admit that anyone would ever want to live below giant star-burst fireworks, but some people just want to be diminutive sparklers and not to be a giant fireball star. Do I like her? Nope. (Duh.) Do I really ever want to be around her again or see a need for it? Ain’t no way if I can avoid it. Do I want to hurt her? Not physically. I would give a lot for her to SEE, but some people love their blinders and won’t give them up for anything.

This probably makes me look bad, condescending, etc. After being treated like a cross between water vapor and dog food for nine months, I’m a little grateful that I came out with any part of my sanity intact. And I wouldn’t go back to it for anything, ever. One of the worst, most rotten times of my life. I don’t treat her family badly. If people judged others on their families, no one would ever get a fair trial. So, consider me a work in progress. I’m just trying to get over the hurt and bad feelings. Learning to let it go is hard.

In the matter of disappointment, a friend was sent away from something lately. It kind of killed me, reminded me of the people who were sent away from another similar endeavor about a decade ago, but made less sense this time. Social repercussions in the sphere where he was sent back to could be harsh, but more likely simply awkward. It will take a few years maybe, to rebuild, but it’s definitely possible.

It was like finding out that someone you knew well died. I cried for a long time the night after I learned the basics, and couldn’t make sense of it all. Although I’m guessing that it was preventable, in the end it just revealed that Agency is a cranky wench. People make their own choices, and there really isn’t anything that can be done in the end. I kept reviewing my actions over the last while, trying hard to see if or what I could do differently, thinking about any chance that had not been explored, help not given, pressure not relieved, and by the end of it, my husband had all that he could do to keep me hugged enough. Couldn’t stop crying for a long time.

Tomorrow I go back to the endeavor with a fresh set of faces, and hope that my minor trauma doesn’t wreak havoc on an attempt at refreshments of some sort for the group. I feel so tired and so … crispy. Burnt out a bit. I think that I’m starting to understand more when God talks to one of the prophets (either in parable or otherwise) saying, “What more could I do for this tree?” Or when He talks about the Children of Israel and asks the prophets what else could he do? He’s done all that He knew how to do, and even He does not violate agency. Anyone that says that God just allows stuff to happen doesn’t understand the Judgement Day. At the same time, note that God isn’t the one who is making things worse. That’s typically people who are listening to Satan (to quote my Mom) “with both ears wide open.”

At the same time, though, I definitely do not think that kid was Satanic. He was a super kid, but something happened, and I don’t know the full story. Might not ever know it. My husband and I tried non-end to make things in the situation better and it just disintegrated like rotten lumber. Usually, all that’s good for is compost for the next thing. We haven’t given up on him, and want to continue being friends. I don’t think that we hurt the situation since both parties involved thanked us on their own non-sarcastically. So, here’s to hoping.

Time to try again, because tomorrow is… another day, I hope.