Present Accounted For
Well, I've once again let more time pass without an update than I intended to. But anyway, while I'm not going to make a really long post right now, I think it's probably about time I tied up an unresolved thread from a previous post.
In a previous post, I mentioned I'd received a Christmas gift from the ward, and that it seemed to me it must have been given due to some misunderstanding about my circumstances and that I was going to return it--and that I was going to talk to the bishop on the seventh and see about how to do that, since I didn't know exactly who in the ward or which ward organization had been responsible for the gift so I couldn't just return it directly. Well, although I didn't write about it at the time (I've been busy), I did indeed bring the matter up with the bishop after tithing settlement on the seventh. Or rather, he kind of broached the subject himself, saying he'd heard there was something I wanted to talk to him about--apparently the ward clerk had already apprised him of the situation.
I'd been apprehensive about this meeting; I was sure the bishop was going to try to talk me into keeping the gift, and, well, I've already written about my rather negative first impression of the new bishop, and I wasn't looking forward to meeting with him--this would be the first time I met with him on a one-on-one basis.
As it turns out, though, the gift wasn't given due to any misperception of neediness on my part at all. Apparently the Relief Society--the organization comprising the adult women in an LDS Ward--had decided they wanted to give out gifts, and when they approached the bishop he said they could go ahead and give them out to whoever they wanted. It's not that they thought I was needy; in fact, the bishop said, when the stake had asked him who in the ward was in need of aid (a stake is the next level up in the hierarchy, comprising a number of wards), he'd said there really wasn't anyone in the ward who he thought was in real need.
So...hm. I'm still uncomfortable taking the gift, but it seems it wasn't given under mistaken assumptions after all--except insofar as they still consider me a faithful Mormon, I guess, but even if I told them I was an atheist I doubt they'd take it back. So...I guess I don't have much choice but to accept it; I now know the Relief Society is behind it, so I could try returning it directly to them, but that would cause more problems and hurt feelings than it would solve.
As for the bishop...he was much less officious and unsympathetic than he'd seemed to me in his first talk. I still think the things he said in that talk were unjustified and poorly thought out, and I don't agree with some of what he's done since...but I don't think he's as bad as he initially seemed to me, and after all nobody's perfect, and maybe he just felt under a lot of pressure from his new calling.
Eh. Anyway, none of this has much to do with any broader theme; like I said, I just figured I ought to resolve that dangling thread left from the earlier post.