Today has been kind of a social day. Athena's been trying to get her visiting teaching done all month and finally managed to get everything together today. And today also happens to be the last Sunday of the month, as well as the day we had a lesson in Relief Society on why we should do our visiting teaching, so when I ran into one of my visiting taught on the way back to the library, I decided I should talk to her. She said she was free right then, so I grabbed my companion and we had a nice visit.
Anyway, because we had a lesson on visiting teaching I thought that might be a good thing to talk about on LJ, since it's something that's been a great blessing to us in the past.
I guess I should first explain what visiting teaching is, for the people who may not know. In our church, the women are assigned to be the visiting teachers of two or three women in the ward. They're also assigned a companion to visit teach with them. The companions get together and visit with the sisters they're assigned to teach, give them a spiritual message each month, talk to them about life, offer help where needed, and just generally be their friend. It sounds kind of lame to have to be assigned to be someone's friend, but when visiting teaching is done right, the assignment is more like an introduction to someone you may not have gotten to know otherwise.
Also, the sad fact is, some people don't have friends without having an assigned visiting teacher, and this brings me to why we know visiting teaching is such a good program (when done right). In our senior year of college, one of our roommates started acting like we didn't exist, or like we were invisible or something. We weren't exactly the best of friends with our other roommate anyway, so even though she did try to remedy the situation, it never really stuck. She wasn't the only one who tried, either. We tried, of course. We were very passive about our own efforts, but whenever someone was proactive and said, "Let's talk," we were ready. We would talk, we'd ask what we did, and our roommate would say we hadn't done anything--she just forgot we were around. Everybody we talked to knew it was a problem, and it was so bad even the bishop came to our apartment to talk to us, but nothing really stuck.
What made this extra hard is that the two roommates and one other friend we'd met freshman year were our posse. We spent almost all our social time with them the first three years of college. But the other friend moved back home our senior year for health reasons, so we didn't really have anyone that we were close to anymore now that we weren't getting along with our roommates. We had a few good online friends, but they couldn't believe our roommate would really be ignoring us as badly as she was. Not that we blame them--we're not entirely sure we believe it ourselves anymore, until I remember specific incidents.
But anyway, that's not the point. That in itself was hard to deal with, but that year we had a lot of family issues happening, and the stress of trying to graduate college (oohh, the reading list...). That same year of college, we happened to have really good visiting teachers. We also had some of the awesomest home teachers (men in our church are assigned to be home teachers, which are like visiting teachers, only they're generally assigned to whole families instead of specific people (it's a little different in young single adult wards, but that's the general idea, I think)) in the ward that year, and we know that those two facts were not accidents. Our visiting teachers and home teachers really helped us to get through that year, because we had people to talk to. And it sounds so cheesy, but it's true--everybody needs a friend. Even twins, who might seem like they have friends built-in.
Today I'm thankful for opportunities to visit teach, the visiting teaching program, those chocolate chip cookies they had after the lesson today, the reading list for Japanese majors at BYU, and the amazingness of all the blessings in disguise that we've gotten.