Yesterday I was released as bishop of the Elk Ridge Ward, in the Elkhorn Springs Stake in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I had served for 5 years and about three months. Which sounds like a long time, and it is; but mulling over countless memories, June 2007 just doesn’t seem that long ago. My hair color says different.
This was me in 2007.
And this is me in 2012.
This is me and Katie, yesterday. August 26, 2012. And yes, that may be more salt than pepper.
In those five years I turned 40 (last year), had two children (technically, Katie had them, in the verb sense of things), dabbled in three different careers, traveled to China, Brazil, and all over the U.S. of A., contributed as an author to a book I’m proud of, started a business, bought a 12-passenger van, and lost 10 lbs.
I also had the honor of having a front-row seat to thousands of miracles and tender mercies. But those aren’t my stories to tell. It was just a privilege to be invited and trusted to be there.
It seems understood and accepted among members of the Church that a bishop sacrifices many hours a week, giving up time with family, work, hobbies, or rest, in order to serve. And yes, there are moments of profound heartache and sadness and wishing you could instantly make things better for somebody.
But…but… there are moments when heaven is touching earth, and you are standing on hallowed ground as you sit with somebody in their home or in a room at the church building or the temple or at a campsite or traveling in a car – and you feel the divinity of that person, and how loved they are by an Eternal Father. And you promise yourself in that moment that you will never forget that feeling. And you feel bonded to that person in a way that you hope makes you friends forever.
I am grateful for those moments. They have changed me and I will miss them.