Eight years and five weeks ago today, the ward I essentially grew up in split in two. This was by design, and was a good thing–it meant our church was growing in this area. My parents bought the house they currently live in back in 1981. Since that time, without moving anywhere else in the Omaha metro area, they’ve been in 4 different wards. Growth does that.
Eight years and five weeks ago today, my dad was asked to serve as bishop of the new ward that was created from the split. In the LDS church, no one is paid to serve. My dad had a full-time job, and he was asked to essentially have a second full-time job on top of that. I used to joke that God had to wait until I was all growed up to have my dad serve as a bishop, lest I embrace the stereotypical “preacher kid” mentality and become even more wild than I was as a teen.
In the past eight years and five weeks, my dad has sacrificed his time and energy to serving the people of his ward. He has cried with them, rejoiced with them, laughed with them, and worked with them. Sometimes, he has done all of these things while we–his actual family–were spending time together, having fun. Not that he neglected us at all, because he didn’t.
But in the past eight years and five weeks, sometimes his church flock had to come before family. And I completely lost it with him about that fact twice, that I recall. Probably more than that when talking to my sisters.
This morning at his ward’s church services, my dad was released from his calling as bishop. A new bishop was placed in his stead. And while I’m sure it is bittersweet for my dad and my mom, I am doing a happy dance. Most bishops in the LDS church serve for about 5 years. So three years and five weeks ago, I started wondering when my dad’s term as bishop would end.
I’m happy because the next time Deanne is in town (if she ever decides to reclaim her citizenry here), dad won’t have to rush off to meetings. I’m happy because he and mom can go on actual dates, instead of letting “chaperoning youth dances” be their date. I’m happy because he can finish the deck he started building last year. Which, yes, would have happened anyway, but maybe now it will be finished sooner than later.
The demands of both emotion and time placed on a bishop and his family at times feel burdensome. But I know both he and my mom (and probably all of their kids and grandkids) have been blessed by his sacrifice.
That said, it will be nice to have him around more often and help him do some of the projects that have been on hold for eight years and five weeks.
And I certainly picked the right year to get a subscription to mlb.tv. Dad’s got a lotta baseball to watch this summer.