Still Blooming In the Background

Do you see that yellow columbine peeking out from behind this big beautiful bloom? That’s me right now. Well, it’s been me for the last two years, and I need to be there for the next few, as well.

My husband is in the forefront. For the last two years he served as the bishop of our congregation, or ward, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the beginning of May he was asked, or called as we say in our church, to serve as a counselor in a stake presidency, a leadership role in which he assists the president of a geographic area called a stake, which encompasses nine to ten wards. For the last six weeks he served in both assignments, in addition to his full-time job.

In the meantime our oldest daughter plunged into two teenage milestones—applying and interviewing for her first real job and taking driver’s education. I prize the one-on-ones she and I have shared during these weeks of hectic schedules for my husband. The story reads the same for my life behind the scenes nurturing our 12-year-old son and our 10-year-old daughter as they extend their abilities and talents in new areas of interest.

I am the support team for my husband and children.

Honestly, 98% of the time I don’t resent doing so. At key points in my life, my husband helped me bloom in the forefront.  Some days, though, I feel a pang of loneliness or envy that pricks me with surprise. I don’t want to be the life of the party or the star of the show, but I like people. And life in our culture today moves ahead in the foreground, not the background.

When I look at this photograph, again, I see the one behind is still blooming. In the background I have time to contemplate and converse without pressure, which allows me to open up in a different way.

I look a third time and remember something I didn’t photograph. I put down my camera, stepped into the mulch and viewed my  columbine from a different angle. We’ve been conditioned in our two-dimensional world to keep focusing on who or what’s in front and where we are in relationship. In reality, these blooms are side-by-side on the plant.

Yesterday Paul was released as the bishop. The relief soothes my soul as much as these soft petals—not because this changes my supporting role; rather, it allows him to fully develop in a new garden.

Ultimately, he understands, as I’ve also learned and told my daughter after his release, the point of our growth is not to glory in our own beauty but to offer nourishement for someone else to bloom.


  1. Alicia Johnson
    Jun 15, 2009

    Wow–being the bishop and in the stake presidency at the same time . . . I’m glad you survived! Thank you for this post, I needed to read that this morning.

  2. Jill Shelley
    Jun 15, 2009

    Thank you for your quote:
    “the point of our growth is not to glory in our own beauty but to offer nourishement for someone else to bloom.”
    I needed to read that today.

  3. Rebecca
    Jun 16, 2009

    Wow, you and your husband must be stretched thin! I’ve never heard of somebody filling two major callings like that at the same time.

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