I know on Mother’s Day we’re supposed to really focus on just our mothers, however today I want to pay a quick tribute to both my mom AND dad. In addition to today being Mother’s Day, today my dad was released as the bishop of my family’s home ward. He has served in that calling for 6.5 years. Before that he was in the Stake Presidency, following the shortest stint as the bishop (only 9 months) of the same ward, and prior to that he was in the bishopric of our stake’s single’s ward. My dad has been in consecutive leadership callings in our stake for longer than my youngest brother (who turns 19 in August) has been alive. Before that my dad served in the bishopric in our ward in New York and other callings.
My mom has had many callings of her own – YW presidency, Primary presidency, Sunday school teacher, Early Morning Seminary Teacher to name a few – but through all of those callings she has also been supporting my dad in his. Many nights of not knowing if/when my dad would be home for dinner, helping those in the ward who were secretly struggling, getting 5 kids ready for church more or less on time on her own each week (a feat that I’m sure was infinitely easier once her oldest child left the house 😉 ), allowing other families’ needs to intrude on our own family time, and countless other small but significant sacrifices through the years. I know there have been times when the load seemed heavy and probably even too much to bear, but through it all both of my parents have been cheerfully – and sometimes tearfully – willing to sacrifice and serve.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with our faith, these callings represent many hours every week – including most of the day on Sunday – with absolutely zero pay, it is done on a completely volunteer basis. Although volunteer suggests that my dad would have gone to someone and requested these assignments – the opposite is true. For each of these callings someone else in our church leadership would have called my dad in to a meeting and asked him if he would be willing to do this regardless of what other plans my dad might have had at the time. He has continued to hold a full time job to support our family while giving up his nights, weekends and vacation time to serve those in their area willingly.
My mom has told me that the very best thing she could have done was to make that sacrifice to allow my dad to serve in these callings. She has told me that by supporting my dad in these callings she has in turn received a husband who is more compassionate, closer to the spirit and more fulfilled than had she selfishly kept him at home to help her with dressing kids for church and the other things that I know she would have appreciated his help with. She’s told me how she’s heard other women tell their husbands that they couldn’t accept these callings that require so much time and effort because they needed the help at home. She doesn’t belittle these concerns – she knows firsthand how legitimate they are – the sacrifices are indeed significant. But she’s testified to me that while it’s been hard – she has gotten more in return for her sacrifice than she would have received any other way.
So, today I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to BOTH of my parents. Thank you for teaching me the value of service and sacrifice. Thank you for teaching me that there is no better way that I can bless the lives of my family than by serving the Lord. I know that their service will not end here – soon enough they’ll find somewhere else to be made useful in serving and loving those around them. They won’t be happy sitting still for long. They know all too well that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God,” and I know they won’t be satisfied not having a way to use their time and talents to serve God. That’s the best example I could have asked for, and I hope that I follow that example in my own live. I love you Mom & Dad!