Mormon congregations (wards) are divided geographically, which means we don’t really choose who we’ll be worshiping with. This can be a little strange in places with high Mormon concentrations because it means your neighbor across the street might be in a different ward so you might see them every day but interact with them and their family in a very different way than you might with a next-door neighbor who is in your ward.
I’ve always thought it was a good system – bloom where you’re planted and all that, but we recently found out the boundaries of our ward have been changed a bit. As a result, some really good friends who really only live a few houses away have been moved to a neighboring ward. I know I’ll still see them, but there’s something about singing songs with toddlers together or cleaning the church building together, or sitting in adjacent pews that’s different from just waving at the mailbox or chatting at the grocery store.
In addition to one of my toilet papering partners and my friend who introduced me to Tab, we’re losing many other good friends, some of my favorites, including some very wise people I’ve looked up to for the last nine years. I know all I have to do is walk around the block to see these friends, but I’m still sad to think of going back to church this Sunday without them.
One of these friends is Julie, who lives two houses down. We’ve endured endless play practices together and my kids would live at her house if they had the choice. Julie did my hair in an updo for a fake prom and gave me a lovely facial for Mother’s Day. She was sitting behind me in the meeting where it was announced that we would no longer be in the same ward. The other congregation is lucky to get Julie and all of my other friends and I hope they treat them well.
This week, Julie suggested we try out a new dance class in town for adults. I quit dance lessons shortly after I fell in one and broke my collarbone in elementary school. It was no great loss, really, since I’m not a good dancer. Trying a dance class has been on my list from the start, but I’ve always felt too intimidated. Going with a friend seemed like the best idea.
We invited our other neighbor, Melissa, and when we arrived, we found three more members of our ward (our pre-split ward, that is), including the teacher of the class. It was the perfect going away party for Julie and our other friend Kassi.
I’m not very graceful, but in this class I didn’t feel stupid or confused. Everything was explained very clearly and we got to learn things step by step (I even tried the splits!!!). All the other ladies were friendly and funny and I really enjoyed myself. I’m thinking of going back the next time I have a free Thursday night.
If you’re local and want to give it a try, it’s at the City Center Thursdays at 8 p.m. As our teacher April said, “What happens in dance class stays in dance class,” and for that I am grateful. No one needs to see me dance. I was just happy for the exercise and for the chance to learn something new with old friends.
And in case we can’t make it to dance class consistently, we’ll always have Prancercise.