It’s amazing how life unfolds. Last week I discussed our need to see one another as God sees us. I shared my perception that many of our local leaders don’t see us LDS singles as God sees us. They just fill blanks in an activity calendar and then do a Pilate — wash their hands and say they’re done. When the storms of life came to me, my ward or stake wasn’t there for me.
I wrote that monologue the day before my weekly recording session. So here I have written how I, an active LDS single, feel unsupported by my ward and stake. It wasn’t the sole focus of what I wrote, but it played an important role in building the overall message I’d be recording and then disseminating to the whole world via the Internet.
That very day, the day I wrote my monologue, the day before I broadcast that monologue to the world, I get a call from my elders quorum president. Events then unfolded to remind me that God is fully aware of us LDS singles.
Setting the meeting
My EQP called to ask when he could visit me. To understand my surprise, you need to know he’s never visited me in the three years I’ve been in his ward. And he lives just two houses down. I also never had home teachers – or if I did I never knew it because they never did anything.
Yes, all those storms of life I mentioned last week happened while my priesthood leader lived two houses down from me. Oh, the irony! How many other priesthood leaders are completely unaware of the singles directly around them who need help?
I routed his call to voicemail because I was at work. He just said he wanted to visit with me. I thought this meant he wanted to extend me a calling. My girlfriend suggested he thought I was inactive. After all, I’ve been attending church with my girlfriend in her ward.
Each of those possibilities seemed likely. I wondered which would unfold when my EQP came to visit with me.
The moment arrived. My EQP had no calling for me, and he didn’t think I was going inactive (though he did wonder why he hadn’t seen me at church recently). My girlfriend was with me when he visited, so we all conversed together.
It didn’t take long for our conversation to bend towards the experience of being single in the Church. My EQP married young and has two kids. He expressed surprise as my girlfriend described leaving the YSA ward as either “graduating with honors” (meaning you left because you got married) or “graduating without honors” (meaning you left because you aged out). He seemed genuinely ignorant. Hello! Babes in sacrament meeting!
As I recognized that concept in the context of my leader’s ignorance, I was moved with compassion towards him and others who should have been helping me but weren’t. I sensed from him a genuine concern while he visited with me. Should I not nurture that perspective by adopting a reciprocal perspective in myself?
The visit ended without extending any calling or any invitation to forsake inactivity. My EQP didn’t even hint he would visit again. But his visit has caused me to reflect.
I’ve believed for some time now that our leaders on the global level really do get it when it comes to ministering to LDS singles. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t learn a thing or two. They’re not perfect. But they have the vision of everyone coming together and being one that all singles and marrieds need to embrace.
Somehow that vision gets lost in translation when you get down to the local level. Or if our local leaders do have it, they’re often thinking only of people like them who are married with children.
The question then becomes this: How will we LDS singles respond? Will we respond with a perspective of isolation, demarcation, and abandonment? Or will we respond with an eagerness to embrace compassion, empathy, and unity when they present themselves?
The timing of my EQP’s visit speaks very forcefully to me that the Lord is very much aware of me. I am not forgotten or forsaken to Him. And neither are any of you. He paid too great a price ever to forget any of us.
In the end, I am filled with hope and optimism. Yes, my hopes have been dashed before. But none of that negates the Lord’s love for us individually nor His power to bring positive developments into our lives. Will our eyes be open enough to see the tender mercies He provides? I hope the answer is yes.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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