Primary, Running, and War

We had our first primary meeting with our complete presidency. Or 1st counselor was recently released and replaced with my friend and mentor Maimi Crawford. She is a much needed edition. She has been in a primary presidency before and is very organized, informed, and strong. The meeting was productive and efficient, and I came away feeling like we really had plans and things to work towards. In responds to her recommendation we will have another meeting next week. The ward here is very laid back, and as a result very unorganized. We all came in at the end of the summer and have awkwardly tried to fill the shoes of the women before us. Fortunately with the new year, new classes, and new teachers, we have the opportunity to start afresh, and establish things the way we feel is best. The church is very open about the way things can be run, a necessity due to the varied circumstances of it’s wards. Last week in Arizona the ward ran like a well oiled machine. I always just thought that was the way things went. Until I moved to Ohio and realized that the church worked well in the west because of the abundance of strong and cultural mormons. Here most everyone is converts, and they don’t have a set understanding of how things should be run, so they create what they thing works. It is refreshing and wonderful to see new ways of going about things, but it can also be difficult when their methods are not working and need to be adjusted. I have loved being in this position, it has really opened my eyes to how the church gives opportunities of leadership to women. It is a beautiful system of enhancing and magnifying talents, giving women who wouldn’t normally associate the opportunity to work closely together and in doing so learn a lot. I have posted about Maimi before, she is an inspiring woman. Today she strongly shared her opinion about the snack policy in Primary. She proclaimed that cooking was her talent, (and it most certainly is!) and that by not allowing her to bring snack if she feels so inclined, it is preventing her from sharing her talent, the same way it would be if one wasn’t allowed to share their beautiful voice or play their violin. We discussed the other implications of bringing treats, the jealousy amongst students, the pressure on teachers, the expectations of students. . . but her point was valid and I admired her determination to have it be heard.
I made bread today! It turned out great, despite my concern that I had not added enough flour.
It was warm and I ran outside again today. I often have to talk myself into getting out to run. Which is so silly, because when I’m done and even while I do it, I love it. I love the feeling of my body working in harmony spinning along swinging, bending, moving forward with ease and fluidity. The human body is an incredible thing, and I always appreciate it more when I use it. There is a great article in this months Ensign about exercise and its spiritual parallels. I enjoyed it, and it helped remind me of the blessings of exercise, while also inspiring me to be as vigilant with my scripture workouts, as I am with my physical ones.
I just finished listening to “All Quiet on the Western Front.” It is a powerful book. I would highly recommend it. The language is straight forward and truthful while also entirely poetic. Between that book, Kite Runner, and my newest read “Last Night I Dreamed of Peace” I have come to hate war. I think anyone who is considering war, or strongly supports it should read “All Quiet” and check themselves. I understand that sometimes violence is unavoidable usually in response to people’s who’s only language is violence, but I think it should be avoided at absolutely all costs. I had never thought so deeply about the damaging effect on the futures of soldiers’ lives. How could you just turn your back and live a normal life after seeing and experiencing such horror. How could you ever feel understood. I admire those who can and have, and I weep with those who can’t. The most gruesome thing about war to me, is that it pits innocent people against innocent people and calls them enemies. There is a powerful part in “All Quiet” when the main character realizes that the man he just killed, out of instinct when the man jumped into his trench, could just as well have been his comrade, they were the same: young, boyish and inexperienced, but just placed on different teams.
In both “All Quiet” and “Last Night” the view is from the “opposing” side, German and Vietnamese. When you read the war through their eyes, when you understand their intents, (and in the case of soldiers the intent is universally camaraderie, obedience and patriotism) their pains, their desires, it seems so blindly cruel to be destroying them. I am grateful for the author, Erich Maria Remarque for helping me to see in my unattached way the horrors of war. From now on, I will pray for peace.

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