I've come to really appreciate our stake president, President Baker. In the evening session yesterday he talked about the pervasiveness of loneliness among the members here in Utah Valley. He regularly conferences with other local stake presidents, and they all express the same concern - loneliness is the number one problem among the members. What's really surprising is that it's not just the concern for single members, but the married ones as well. Everyone feels it, married or not.
I have a few friends that seem to have it in mind that these feelings of loneliness go away with marriage, but the truth of it is sometimes those feelings can even come up when you're in a crowd. JD gets it:
President Baker suggested that the solution to the problem is the same as what President Hinckley said all new converts need in the church:
- Everyone needs a friend - everyone needs to feel wanted.
- Everyone needs a calling - everyone needs to feel needed.
- And everyone needs to be nourished by the good word of God.
Not only do I feel like I have people that care about me and want me around up here, but I feel like there are people who depend upon me. I feel like I am doing what I can to be nourished by the word of God, however much my own efforts still need to be improved in that area. But doing those things really does make a big difference in helping to combat those feelings of loneliness.
Since I've been up here I have had the wonderful pleasure of serving as a gospel doctrine teacher in the ward. It's probably my favorite calling that I've ever had. I just love it, but in the last few months I've also felt like I've gotten really comfortable in this area and could use some stretching.
Well, with the reorganizing I'm getting a new one. Any guesses?