Serving as a reserve delegate comes with both joys and challenges.
Joys: There’s less pressure! If I need to take an hour for my health (read: sanity), I can do that and not feel guilty about missing a vote or an opportunity to share my voice. This provides more time to share with friends, old and new, which has been my favorite part of General Conference thus far.
Challenges: I cannot vote or participate in discussions! It can be incredibly frustrating to be unable to share a point or perspective that hasn’t yet been voiced. Also, reserves never know when they’re going to get the chance to fill in for a delegate so you always have to be ready. Being a reserve is kind of like being an understudy in a musical–you may never get the chance to perform, but you still have to learn all the lines, music, and dances just in case!
Yesterday, I did finally get a chance to participate! One of the West Virginia lay persons (and a good friend of mine), decided she needed a break during yesterday’s morning session which meant that I was able to sit on the floor and even take two (unimportant) votes! Yes, I didn’t actually impact anything (honestly, the best part was really that delegates can plug in their computers/phones while reserves do not have plugs), but it still felt good to finally feel like I could participate.
And yet, while it can sometimes be frustrating not to be able to participate fully, I’m thankful. For one, I’m thankful for Erin’s generosity to forfeit her seat for a spell. Even more so however, I have appreciated the opportunity to be here for worship, prayer, and the opportunity to simply be in this space. Global Ministries talks about the need for those who rarely speak to “step forward” and those often speak to “step back.” I know this may not be a surprise, but I always have to remind myself “step back, step back, step back…” Not being allowed to talk has been good for me, and I’ve appreciated being forced to simply listen (even if it drives me crazy!) because it helps me to truly hear someone else’s perspective and opinion.
I hope that all involved (myself included) continue to give thanks for the blessings even in the midst of what can be a difficult process!