Life has been very stressful as of late. I wasn’t even sure I could pull off going to our ward congregation’s Relief Society Meeting (formerly know as Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment Night). I was nearly an hour late after finally showering and getting dinner on the table (and sitting down with my family for a few enjoyable moments).

But I’m so glad I went. When I walked in the door, my husband said, “You’re glowing.”

I didn’t realize how much I really needed the break. I haven’t laughed like that for a while. I love talking and connecting with the sisters in my ward (I always tend to linger just to chat — I love the social outlet such lingering provides).

These meetings end up with a variety of themes and purposes. Last night, we held a service auction. Each woman came with an idea of some service she could offer to a sister in the ward. The list included cleaning, babysitting, present wrapping for the holidays, baking, homemade items like cards and home decorating items, and myriad other things. We each had “points” to “spend” which we had after going through a list of things we had been able to do in the last week or so. How many days did you read your scriptures? Hold family prayer? Exercise? Have you played a game with a child this week? Served a neighbor? There was enough variety and a long enough list that no one was without a good supply of points to use. This gave us a chance to reflect on how we are doing in our lives and priorities and spiritual and physical well-being. (The gray-haired sister next to me even folded her list up to take home and do some goal-setting.)

But mostly, we just had a lot of fun. The interactions were delightful. The invitation and opportunity to serve each other left us all feeling loved and cared for and more connected. I appreciated, too, how it was a way for us to directly share some of our talents and interests in service to each other.

A couple of favorite moments included the following:

– I saw my good friend raise her hand when a darling baby quilt was held up. My thought was, “Hey, I could get her a baby gift now!” (This was actually a selfish thought in many ways, seeing as I just barely got her the gift I’d meant to give for her other child who is now three!) I “bid” and got the quilt that had been made with love by a sister in our ward. I set it on my friend’s very pregnant tummy and we all had a good laugh. Closer to the end of the auctioning, I bid my remaining points on an offer to help wrap holiday gifts. I heard that I was outbid, so my attention went elsewhere, only to turn around and see the “auctioneer” (husband of one of the women in the room) hand me the wrapping paper and the IOU note. I was puzzled until I discovered the grin on my pregnant friend’s face who had bid on the service and then passed it to me! The room erupted in laughter and warmth.

– One of the sisters saved all of her points to be able to get help creating a blog. When it went up for auction, she yelled out, “61 points!” I think she also included a caveat “And no one had better outbid me!” Again, we all had a good laugh. Since this was the service I had offered, I was thrilled that it went to someone who really wanted and can benefit from the help.

I love the sisterhood that Mormonism brings into my life. I came home from this meeting rejuvenated, well-fed (homemade apple crisp and ice cream), and ready to tackle again the many things going on in our lives right now. (That’s life, after all, right?)

If you were participating in a service auction, what service would *you* offer?

Is there someone around you who might benefit from that service?