A few incidents have happened recently that involve acquaintances from church.....
1. We went to dinner at our old friends' home about a week ago ~ we meet up with them maybe twice a year to have dinner and catch up. He used to be my bishop and she and I were visiting teaching partners for years, and we worked in the primary presidency together for years also. My son had told their son that day at school that we don't go to church anymore. They didn't mention any of that to us and we had a lovely time. I tried hard to discern if they knew about me, but I couldn't tell. I thought that was nice. He said the blessing on the food, and when he said, "We are so very grateful for the Gospel in our lives" I almost snorted. Almost.
2. Thursday afternoon, I got a call at home from a woman in my ward, inviting my husband and me to a White Elephant party at her home Friday night. I called her back once my husband gave me her phone message, and told her we had other plans but thanks for the invitation. She and I talked a bit about work (we have similar jobs) and the joys of being behind, and it was nice. At the end of the conversation, when I told her I had to get back to work, she said she missed seeing me at church. I said, "That's nice. Thanks for the invitation! Goodbye." What did she want me to say? It's not like I've ever been invited to her house before.....if we were close friends, MAYBE I'd discuss my not being at church with her. Maybe.
3. Today, my cell phone rang. I've only had this phone for a few months, and the only person I gave it to was the primary president I worked with just before I left the church, so she must have given out my number. She's friends with the man who called me...I'll call him Jay. He was a single man who was in my Gospel Principles class when I taught it for 3 years. He was actually only in that class for a short period of time, maybe a few months, before he moved.
He was calling me to invite me to his baptism this Saturday, because I was a great influence on him in that class, and he felt it'd be really special if I could be there. What could I say? Instead of committing, I asked him if he was in my ward again, and he said, "No, it's been 16 months since I was in your ward." I told him I'd have to look at my schedule, but that I really appreciated his letting me know about his baptism. I said something like, "Wow. I know how important your baptism must be to you. Congratulations."
So, does my friend the Primary President really think Jay's call is going to get me to change my mind? Does she not realize I feel depressed now, knowing how well I taught Gospel Principles to those poor souls who believed me? I know damn well how convincing and good I was at that job. It wasn't a small class, either. Sigh. Incidentally, the Primary President is the mother of the woman who had the White Elephant party. Coincidence? Maybe.
4. While I was on the phone with Jay, my sister Tony called me on my land line. She is in a different ward here, but it's the ward I used to be in so there are many people I know in her ward. My sister was at the baptism of her neighbor's kid, and she was approached by two different and unrelated people who asked, "How's Lisa? How's she doing?" One was the mother of my son's friend at school, so I don't mind her asking. She is a very nice woman whom I admire greatly. Our sons are interested in maintaining a friendship, so I know her concern for us is real and legitimate.
The other one is actually in my ward, just an acquaintance, and she said to my sister, "How's Lisa doing? We've missed her so much. The entire ward is praying on her behalf." I just laughed. The ENTIRE WARD? Does this mean they announced a special fast or prayer for me? Doubt it. I asked Tony if this lady asked the question using that hushed tone you use if someone died. She laughed hard and said, "Of course she did!"
Tony, if you're reading this, you know you're only going to get more of this. You know how to avoid such stuff altogether, right? Just don't go to church!! ;) But, if this is not an option for you, then you can and should say these words to anyone who should ask in future:
"Why don't you call Lisa and ask her yourself? Here's her number. I'm sure she'd love to talk to you herself rather than have you talking about her when she's not around."
It's fascinating to be going through this. Just when I think that nobody cares anymore, I get contacted again.