Yesterday the new Primary president asked those of us who got the boot recently to come to Primary the last five minutes or so. So down we went, and they had the kids all sing us a song about how much they loved us, and then present us with paper chains. The children and teachers had written short messages for each of us onto paper links, and then stapled them together into four surprisingly long chains which they draped around our necks. The old Pres was standing next to me, and we were both trying not to blubber. "Good," she whispered, "You never cry, so it's not just me."
They gave me something I didn't even know I needed, until I was standing there yesterday–a confirmation that my time in Primary was well spent–that somehow we made a difference in those children's lives. I was released, and glad to be, really, but somewhere deep down, I guess I felt like I'd never measured up, quite–that we'd just been place holders until someone more competent could come along and do the job the way it was meant to be done. And so it really buoyed me up yesterday, if only for an afternoon, to think that maybe I wasn't a complete bomb, you know? If every link had said the same thing, I don't think it would have felt that way, but these kids really thought about what they wrote, and it was really touching, for lack of a better cliche.
A sampling from my chain:
Sister Lybbert, I liek you. Love [indecipherable name]
Thank you for all your great sharing times, Sister Lybbert.
Sister Lybbert, I wish you would come back.
Sister Lybbert, You told me that the gospel was true, and I knew that [runs out of room in the middle of the next word]
Dear Sister Lybbert, You were always nice to me. I miss you.
Yo, Sister Lybbert. Thanks.
I love you, Mom. [yes, there were three of those]
Thanks Mom, see you later.
I spent an hour after church very carefully undoing each strip so I could read all the messages. They also made us each a tile embossed with one of my favorite scriptures: "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children." I do love the tile, but the chains, in all their simplicity, were the real kicker there.
I realized what an impact–just these construction paper chains–I need to be more active in giving thanks to those who have made a difference in my life, and I don't have to make grand thank you gestures. Just do it, sincerely. Just say thank you, for specific acts.
I am totally distracted by these strange noises above my head. What ARE they doing up there?