My wife, Amy, and I have been fixing to move for a while here. I think the day is actually at hand. (We’ve got our eye on Williamsburg, but we’d love to hear suggestions if you’ve got any.) Oh, there are the reasons we give people, like "it’ll be a shorter commute on the Subway", and "with the money we save on tolls by living closer to Amy’s work we can get a better place for the same monthly expense". But let’s be honest here: the biggest reason we’re moving is that we don’t think we can stand our ward much longer. I know this is somewhat taboo in the Church, and I hope we can all still be friends.
How guilty should we feel about this? (Okay, that’s a trick question since I swore off feeling guilty years ago. But still. . .) I’m sure you’ve heard it all before: ward mission leader/Elders quorum president/Primary President in a barely functional ward; painful, firsthand look at how our ward can’t receive the many, many people we baptize and even pushes them away; blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Still, somehow moving seems easier than going to the Bishop and seeing what we can do to fix the problems and relieve some of the stress we’re under.
It’s not as though we haven’t put in a good effort. We’ve been here for three years and have made some serious progress in training and helping the less-experienced members. But now we find that Church is becoming the hardest, most draining part of our lives instead of the source of happiness and peace it should be. Ideally — if we were truly like Christ — we would simply redouble our efforts and find joy in forgetting ourselves in the service of others.
The thing is, we’re not that Christlike yet. If he were in our place I’m sure he could manage and even thrive in it. But we just can’t anymore. Even my jaded, desensitized conscience sends up a red flag when I consider what Christ might do in my situation and I still feel like the right decision is something else. But I do — I feel at peace with our decision. I hope we can continue to become more like Christ and that if we find oursleves in a similar situation in the future we can more fully live up to that standard. Right now, though, we’ve been burned out for too long and we just need a fresh start.