I have a secret. This isn’t one of those fun, gossipy secrets. It’s more like a burden…a trying to keep someone from getting hurt kind of a secret…and it’s weighing on me. I have this strong urge to divulge, like keeping it in is somehow painful. So, I went to see a secret keeper, my bishop, talked it over with him, unburdened myself, and left feeling calm, peaceful, and able to cope. On the ride home I thought, “how many more people unburdened themselves tonight? How many more secrets is he living with?”
Being lay clergy is an unenviable job. From a secular perspective, it is completely unfair. All of the expectations of traditional clergy, with no training, and no monetary compensation for the many hours spent ministering. A bishop must serve people with whom he has worshipped in the past, maybe neighbors, probably friends, and possibly a few he wouldn’t count as friends. The hours are long, at times the gratitude is short, and then there are all the problems, burdens, and secrets.
I’ve never been a bishop, but knowing the work that bishops have done for me, considering that I probably haven’t been the most difficult ward member for most of my life, and then multiplying that by 2, 3, or 700–that is daunting. Which brings us back to my original thought, the most difficult task for me would be bearing the burdens–keeping the secrets.
I think that bishops sometimes get a bad rap in the bloggernacle–everyone has had the bad experience with the odd bishop, and of course, those are the stories we tell. But I want to be publicly grateful. I’m glad someone will listen to me and allow me to unburden my heart. This is amazingly selfless service, and it occurs that it echoes the profound service the Savior offers all of us–to take on Himself our burdens and pains.