This morning, I went visiting teaching. Visiting teaching is a program in the LDS Church where women get to visit other women every month. How it works is you get assigned a partner (another woman, or "sister", as we call each other) and you and your partner are assigned a number of other sisters that you are supposed to visit each month. I have five sisters on my list and currently I don't have a partner. I had one last year but she got moved so they're working on getting me another partner. The president of the Relief Society, an organization for all women age eighteen and older, is usually the one that makes the assignments.
My first visit was to Heather and it was really great to catch up with her on the holidays and how she and her family have been doing. Her husband is in the Air Force and has been busy with work and with flying helicopters. She has three boys so we were talking about school and science fairs. We also talked about the visiting teaching message, which is in the Ensign, a magazine published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love the messages we get to share each month because it's so uplifting and even though I'm the one bringing it to my sisters, I get just as much (if not more) out of it as my sisters.
My second visit was to Tiffany, who actually wasn't home when I arrived. I could tell she wasn't there because her minivan wasn't in the driveway but I rang the doorbell anyway just in case for some reason she was there even if her car wasn't. Because I didn't have my cell phone with me, I had to drive home to call her. Turns out, she had forgotten and had gone to Sam's Club but she was going to the church to meet her sister-in-law to set-up for the baby shower they were throwing for one of their visiting teaching sisters. She asked if I wanted to meet her there. I said sure, even though I wasn't sure because I had wanted to stop by Target to return a pair of pants and to buy a gift for the same baby shower. However, I figured that I still wanted to see her and to let Gordon play with her daughter for a bit.
I'm so glad we met up with them because I realized that sometimes a visit doesn't turn out as planned but is still beneficial. I was able to visit with Tiffany, give her a message, and help her and her sister-in-law get things ready for the baby shower. Part of visiting teaching is to serve those you visit. At the end of a visit, it is customary to ask if there is something your sister needs. When asked that question, most people would say no because they don't think they need it or don't like to ask for help. The best way to know if there's a need is to be observant and offer help when you see a need. A lot of times opportunities for service come up when you least expect it.
Later, as I thought about it, I realized that visiting teaching is something I truly enjoy doing but have struggled with doing because I get it in my head that it should be done a certain way so then I end up not doing it because I can't seem to get it done that way. I read an article in the Ensign about a teacher who got a potato from one of her students. This student had wanted to give her an apple but she didn't have one so she decided to give her what she had, which was a potato. I love this story because it teaches us that we don't have to wait until we have an apple to give to give something. I don't have to wait until Tiffany asks me to help her to give help. I can be willing to meet her where she's going, which today happened to be the church. I don't have to wait for someone to be sick to bring a meal, I can do it when I am inspired to do it because maybe she had a hard day and was too busy or stressed out to cook.
The principle of giving what we have can also be applied to other areas of life and turned into "starting where we are". We don't have to wait until the stars align to do something, we just have to do it. It's especially applicable in making changes and improvements, which is very popular at the beginning of a new year. Whatever we think we need to do, just do it. Change doesn't happen over night but it can only happen if we try. Start where we are.
That's what I've decided to do with this blog. Often I think I would like to write something but I don't because I think it's not a good topic, or I'm too busy, or I don't have a picture I want, etc. Those are just excuses. So starting today, I am going to "start where I am".