Ministering - but done in an excellent way. Focused totally on Christ-like service and not letting ourselves get lost in our daily planners.
Great discussion on the parable of the 10 Virgins, with one person questioning why the "faithful" women didn't take the time to look around and help the "foolish" virgins make sure they had enough oil. Someone said, "Maybe they weren't foolish; maybe they couldn't afford more oil. Maybe they just needed someone to see their need and help them." I loved it, since it flipped the normal judgment about "those foolish virgins" and questioned snobbishness that too often is the take-away from that parable.
Great disucssion of the parable of the Good Samaritan. One person identifying with the innkeeper who was able to watch others help people and assist just by being there when someone is identified and helped initially by others; another person comparing their crazy busy life from which they seldom look up to the priest and Levite; someone who has been through their own Hell identifying with the man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die; one person talking about having to log onto Facebook during the meeting, in the chapel, to apologize for being the robbers and verbally beating up someone on Facebook who was being an obnoxious jerk. It was heartfelt, real, and powerful.
One of the speakers talked about hating Visiting Teaching and not knowing why until a few days before the change was announced. One speaker talked openly about how difficult her marriage had been for the first couple of years, with one detailed example of an escalated event between her and her husband - who was sitting in the chapel and now serves on the High Council. The members over 80 years old were asked to stand. One older woman who is one of the funniest people I know stood while her husband remained sitting. She said, "I am 83. He is 85, but he won't admit it." He stood up and said, "She's a rat." It was hilarious.
Elder Brian Taylor was the presiding authority. I really liked his approach.
My wife and I have a tradition of getting something simple to eat between the leadership and adult sessions, then ice cream after the adult session. I am not working while I get my Master's Degree, so things are extremely tight financially. As we were about to leave the chapel to eat, we saw a woman whose life has been beyond difficult. We admire her more than I can articulate just for being totally active in a church that constantly preaches the glory of what she didn't have in her active family growing up and then in her marriage. She had the opposite of the ideal, but she attends every week. We asked her if she wanted to eat with us, and she got ice cream with us afterward. When we dropped her off tonight, she gave my wife a tight hug and whispered, "Thank you."
It was a good day.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)
Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.
"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken