It's a bit of a rite of passage when you're a Mormon and you move into a new ward (congregation): the new families always get pegged to speak in sacrament meeting.
I don't mind speaking in church. It doesn't make me terribly nervous, and I enjoy the in-depth study time I get about a gospel topic. And being asked to also play my violin yesterday didn't phase me either.
You know what does phase me? What does make me shake in my boots a bit? When I'm getting my violin out and ready and Ashlynn comes up to me and says "Mom! Mom! Isn't that Elder Holland?"
When I looked up to see Elder Jeffrey R. Holland walking up to the stand, my heart jumped into my throat. I was going to be speaking and playing the violin in sacrament meeting with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve sitting directly behind me. I don't remember the last time I was nervous to speak or play my violin, but this time, I was more than a little intimidated.
(For those unfamiliar- the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency make up the governing body of the Mormon church. They preside over all the affairs of the church, speak in General Conference, and we sustain them as being prophets of God. Elder Holland also happens to be one of my husband and my favorite speakers to listen to because of his eloquence and the spirit that he brings with him.)
My heart was pounding and my palms were sweating. I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh because of the absurdity of the situation or bolt out of the meeting before anyone noticed us.
In the end, of course, it all worked out. Going into the meeting, I was pleased with how my talk turned out, my girls wrote fantastic little talks themselves, my husband was prepared, the music was ready, so we just stood up and did it. The girls were pros, I didn't trip going up the stairs to the podium, and my husband was brilliant. (If I do say so myself.)
And when it was all over, Elder and Sister Holland were incredibly warm, complimentary, and gracious. Elder Holland praised the talks and the music, then chuckled as he also said how impressed he was with our kids-wrangling ability. (Ian was rather, um, vocal about his parents being up at the podium speaking.) He joked about how we gave him ideas for his next conference talk, and I have to admit to getting a rather big head when someone told us that Elder Holland was taking notes during my talk. And I would sit down with Sister Holland any day of the week- what a fabulous, loving woman!
Tom and I spent the rest of the day grinning at each other. Church with little ones isn't always easy, memorable, or pleasant. But yesterday was certainly a Sunday to go down in the history books.