Farewell to the Misfit Toys

I imagined that when I left the island, there would be a large gathering of toys to send me off. But, it turns out, if you leave quietly near the end of Gospel Doctrine, nobody realizes that you’re gone for good. I could have stood up, demanded a little attention from the teacher and said, “Goodbye all you toys. Good luck with your new leader and come see me if I’ve decided I like you enough.”

Then I make a big, dramatic bow or curtsy, depending on how well the audience responds to my farewell address.

Don’t you think it would have been a standing ovation—at least from the misfit toys that feel they’ve made the Larrie-likes-you-enough list?

I think so.

But I didn’t say a word. I just stood up and walked out. It was sadly anticlimactic and I should have chosen a better farewell just for the sake of something dramatic to share on this blog. So let’s say this is how it really went down:

Near the end of Relief Society, when we left some time for testimonies, I stood up and told everybody that this would be my last week. I hear gasps, some wipe away tears, and Maren shrugs her shoulders. With the smell of pot roast wafting into the room from the kitchen next to us, all eight of the women there on Sunday get up to cry about how much they’ll miss me and that the sing-alongs in FHE will never be the same again. Then they wonder if anybody will REALLY pull another all-nighter and freeze around the campfire because the wood is locked up in the truck. Another sister stands up to share with us how for the first time in her life, she didn’t feel so white, since there was somebody else in the ward who COULDN’T TAN just like her.

After Relief Society, we try to start Gospel Doctrine, but the word gets around quickly to all nine of the men that this is it for Larrie. They shake their heads and frown. One asks, “How am I ever going to REALLY make it through THREE WHOLE HOURS OF CHURCH EVERY WEEK without a scribble session on the back of the sacrament meeting program?” But to bring the spirits back up, Joel-in-the-box reminds everybody that now they won’t have to look at my only-slightly-deformed toe when I wear sandals to church anymore. Phew.

And with that, I curtsy while they stand and cheer because THE TOE is moving on to a new ward where she might find another polka-dot elephant. Perhaps.

How to Handle Multiple Hours of Church

Once upon a time, I thought that everybody went to church as much as I did, regardless of their religion. Now that I’m an ADULT (contrary to popular belief), I’ve learned that few people attend 3+ hours of worship each week, or even each month. But I keep going. Must be something I actually believe in, hey?

By the end of Sunday meetings, I must admit, it gets difficult to pay attention. I want to turn around and see ALL the 45 people in the congregation (my singles ward is giant). I start drawing pictures on the program. I make the people around me draw pictures on the program. And I still MOSTLY listen. As much as I can.

I did listen to Leah this week. She served a Mormon mission to Peru and was sharing some of the stories. She was there when the earthquake hit and explained why they had to pull the missionaries out of the area: most of the adobe homes had crumbled so they had no safe place to live and the nearby jail had also been partially destroyed. She explained the jail break in words similar to these:

“Five hundred prisoners of the, like, 520 in jail escaped. Not exactly the safest place.”

After this comment, I’m thinking, yikes, I wouldn’t want to be there, either.

Not Maren.

“Stupid 20,” she said.

We spent the remainder of the meeting reenacting the stupid 20 who couldn’t escape.

“Guys, wait for me… I’m stuck in adobe…”

(Follow the link to have a look-see at some of the fabulous pictures Maren, Braden, and I drew in a past fast-and-testimony meeting.)