Thursday, November 5, 2009

Feeling Out of Place

I have been a member of a family ward since fall 2005 when my singles ward was discontinued due to dwindling membership--apparently, most of the ward members had moved to college wards and the 57 of us left were pretty well permanently settled. Some people found the adjustment very difficult because it is hard to go from a ward where so many of your peers are actually your peers and are going through similar things, to a ward where you may be one of the only (if not the youngest) single members. It's easy to feel out of place after so long in one situation.

I was one of the lucky (optmistic?) few who was looking forward to the change. It's fun to be with young single adults, but it's also fun to be with families and retired couples and teenagers and babies. I had had enough of singles wards; while the change itself came quickly, I was ready for it and transfered my records back to the ward I grew up in and in whose boundaries I still lived.

It's been great for the last four years. It really has. I've had the opportunity to serve in wonderful and varied ways. I had a wonderful bishop who gave excellent advice when I was engaged. I had a safety net when the engagement fell apart. I've been able to interact with my former Primary and Young Women teachers as an adult on (nearly) equal footing. I've held babies, played pianos, sung in the choir, congratulated teenagers on graduation, and played the organ for funerals. I've loved nearly every moment of it.

However, I realized last weekend at a Halloween party that even though I enjoy my ward and the people in it, I still don't quite fit in. Not quite. I'm not just off my mission, I've never had children, I'm not a widow, I'm not divorced, I'm not married, I'm not engaged. I am single, working, making plans for the future, and, according to some, have all the time in the world to play. I can participate in quilt groups and Primary programs and Sunday school classes all I want, but I still won't quite fit in. While I'm 90% just fine with that, there is a little part of me that longs for a movie buddy who doesn't have to find a sitter. I would love to be in Sunday school and not hear the teacher talk about her relief that her daughter is getting married before she turns 30, as if we're in "Logan's Run" or something. I would like to never have to answer the question "so, are you dating anyone?" again. It's hard to let things slide with a joke or a clever remark, but I do it over and over again. I'll keep doing it because it's the only way I have to get through the harder times, and because it's much more polite than saying, "will you leave me alone about it?! Worry about your own life!" or "no, I don't party all night or run around all day. I'm a responsible member of society and an adult despite my single status."

Honestly, there are Sundays I'd rather stay home than go, but then I remember that it's the doctrine that I love, the Savior, my Heavenly Father, how I feel when I take the Sacrament, the peace the Holy Ghost brings...all those things are more important than some of the strange attitudes I've encountered.

Still, it will be nice when I have a family of my own--although I'll still feel a little out of place because I won't be a young mother having children at 22. :)


erinannie said...

I love my family ward, until its time for ward activities. Its the one place I wish to fit in.
Our last 3 ward activities-
Adults Only Luau and Dance - there was no way I was getting a date (first date) to go to a ward activity. And there was no way I was going to a couple's activity alone.

The kids Easter Egg hunt. With no kids, I obviously didn't fit it.

Kids Parade - again, for obvious reasons I didn't attend.

And our last Enrichment activity? Mommy Daughter Night- make hair bows with your daughter.

But I love my ward. I love my neighbors. I just wish there was a way for me to fit in.

Roxie said...

I long ago stopped feeling like I fit in with the single's wards. I know they are the perfect thing for some people. I'm just not one of those people.

There have been times when the family ward was a little awkward, but on the whole, it's been a great experience.