I tried to take a leave of absence from visiting teaching several years ago. The fact that I was teaching full time, working on my master’s degree, had four teens at home, and was serving in the YW presidency failed to impress my Relief Society president. “You’ll have to talk to the Bishop if you want to be released as a visiting teacher,” she said—frost forming on her lips as she spoke. I kept on visiting, convinced I would not be released from this calling until I was planted deep underground.
Fast forward nearly two decades and a different ward. When we moved into our current ward, I told the RS president, who met us as our furniture was being hauled in, that I wasn’t a regular churchgoer. She asked me to be a visiting teacher anyway, and I enjoyed getting acquainted with my partner and the three sisters we visited.
February was my partner’s turn to set up appointments. By mid-month I hadn’t heard from Jessica. When I met her at a neighbor’s Pampered Chef party, I asked about her schedule for visiting this month. “Didn’t they tell you? We’ve been switched. I told Eloise (our new RS president) I hated losing you for a partner.”
Since I haven’t been informed of a new assignment, I can only assume I’ve been fired—is this a first ever for a visiting teacher to be sacked? I suppose asking my own visiting teachers not to read me the lesson each month and answering honestly when asked if I had a testimony might have hoisted a red flag for our new RS president. While I did enjoy visiting women in the neighborhood whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise—I have to admit I won’t miss trying to coordinate my schedule with my partner’s, a mother of six who is finishing her degree, and then trying to make appointments with a young mother working on her associate’s degree, a busy business owner, and a grandmother on steroids. If I’d only known how to get fired 20 years ago.