MR says: What an insightful look into just how intimidating (in a good way) but also inspiring Relief Society sisters can be!
The sound of the telephone awakened me from a sound sleep. My husband leaned over the nightstand to answer. Suddenly on edge, I mentally sorted the possible reasons for a phone call so early in the morning. Had there been an injury or an illness in the family? An emergency at Don’s job? Did someone need a blessing?
I held my breath as Don silently passed the phone to me. Then I heard a cheery voice say, “Good morning, Sister Schultz. I need to get your visiting teaching report.”
My husband looked at me with bewilderment as I passed the phone back to him. “She wanted a visiting teaching report? But it’s only the first day of the month!”
I smiled at his naiveté. Relief Society sisters are often diligent to a fault. There was a mixture of fatigue and admiration in my voice as I explained, “Honey, she’ll probably have the final report finished before noon. This is Relief Society.”
We Relief Society sisters can be intimidating creatures—intimidating to nonmember associates, to priesthood holders, and perhaps especially to each other. I love the energy and enthusiasm of my sisters in Relief Society. Women of great strength and commitment are needed in these last days. I admit that I also feel overwhelmed from time to time by my desire to measure up to that same goodness, and I suspect that I am not alone. Isn’t it ironic how the very thing that can bring us community and strength—our collective virtue as sisters—can also spark feelings of weakness and isolation? Even when we are living in accordance with gospel principles, we may question whether we are living up to the expectations of those around us. We wonder if our personalities are too reserved or too bubbly, if our brand of gospel living is too conservative or too liberal, if our families are too large or too small. In our desire to get a handle on the intangible process of spiritual refinement, we can easily get caught up in external comparisons and the cultural trappings of Mormonism.