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Sequencing Spells Relief

from LEAVEN, Vol. 34 No. 2, April - May 1998, p. 24
by Melissa Rice Noble
Yokosuka, Japan

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. When my firstborn reached toddlerhood, restlessness burdened me. I felt I owed it to myself, to the parents who put me through college, to the women who secured my suffrage and to VISA and MasterCard (to whom I owed said firstborn), to be more than a mother.

Of course, looking into the trusting blue eyes of my baby told me that only I could invest in him the devotion he deserves. Sequencing is a concept I fully embraced, as it said I could be a full-time mother now and work for somebody else later. What a relief!

I have found similar comfort in applying sequencing to my leadership. I became a Leader as I hopped on a plane to move to Japan in November 1994. Since then I've undergone periods of energy and repose.

To get a new Group started I spent every free moment planning, writing ads, investigating regulations at our military base and obtaining a facility. We had 17 people at that first meeting in February. From there, I held a potluck meal, participated in a health fair and Friendship Day, and celebrated LLL's 40th anniversary.

Then my family began to need me more. I stepped back and limited my LLL activities to meetings and phone calls until December when we had a simple holiday party. By then I was great with child and focusing inward. I stayed with basic leadership responsibilities through the birth of my third child in April.

My co-Leader is another example of sequencing. Cyndy has been a faithful LLL Leader for 11 years. During that time she's worked very hard some years, replenished her energy in others.

When she arrived in Japan, she was bewildered by the standard of living here and bereaved by the recent loss of her mother. She was unsure of her standing in her family, community and LLL. She considered dropping LLL work, but a grateful letter came from a mother Cyndy helped many years ago. The woman thanked her for making such a difference in her life.

Our roles reversed. Cyndy regained her passion for LLL work when I was growing weary. While I was nesting, she set up inservices at the hospital and Saturday meetings.

If I compare myself to Cyndy's 11 years of experience, I grow discouraged. That's where the concept of sequencing is useful. I don't have to be Cyndy. I don't even have to be an ideal me now. If I have a new baby, it is okay to stick to the basics. If my house is full of crazy little boys, I should tend to them. LLL is unique and wonderful in that it understands how important family is. It isn't all or nothing. Continuing to do mother-sized Leader work surpasses quitting (or doing more and being unhappy.)

The irony is that Cyndy is preparing for a huge exam. I am capable of more outreach now, while Cyndy attends to studying. If I can't distribute pamphlets to every single building on base, that is okay. No one has to do everything at once.

There is a time to every purpose under heaven. Helping mothers and babies is beautiful and important, dear Leader friends. Just help one mother at a time.

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