I totally believe in the theory and principle behind visiting teaching. Really, I do. But here's a secret: visiting teaching pretty much makes me feel bad all the time. If I'm not feeling anxious and guilty about not going yet, then I am feeling guilty while I sit in my visiting teachee's house and thinking to myself "she can see right through me."
I genuinely like my visiting teachees and I want to be there for them, but does that come across at all? Because I just feel like a big phony every time I call them to schedule an appointment (which inevitably is couched with four hundred apologies and excuses for why I am not calling until the last week of the month). It's like I am sorry for calling them at all, but I'm also sorry for not visiting them earlier, and I am sorry for not just knowing what they need and then giving it to them.
I am sorry when I run into them at church. I am sorry when I run into them at the store. I am sorry when I see their husband. I'm sorry when I see their kids. I'm sorry when all I can think of to say is "how are you?" because that just seems so trite and cliche. I am basically just sorry that I exist at all when it comes to my visiting teachees. I am so sorry that when they allow me to come visit them I gush and say thank you so much over and over again like a little sycophantic fool.
And then when I am not feeling sorry about either not doing it yet, or doing it, but possibly coming across as insincere (last day of the month, anyone?), then I am feeling horrified by something my companion has just said. You can't always keep your companion from saying things like the following:
"Your child is just average, but my daughter is advanced"
"I would never let my kids have a play date this late"
"Who would want to live in this apartment?"
What does one do in this situation? Sit in silence, try to catch the other person's eye and perform a discreet eye roll? Look down and act like you didn't hear or aren't in the room at all? What?
I'm not really asking for advice, here. Just giving my thoughts. I'd talk about hating my neck or my purse or something, but Nora Ephron already did that. So all I have left is visiting teaching.
Or parenting, but you should really just read Kacy for that.
Or being pregnant, but you already know how I feel about that.
Once I went to some sort of training for people in Relief Society presidencies and Sister Beck told this extremely horrible story about a poor woman who had recently had a baby, and whose husband had two broken legs, and whose kitchen was covered with cheerios and milk, and whose kids were not being attended to, and whose newborn was wailing in another room of the house . . . all while her visiting teachers were sitting in her living room delivering the monthly message, completely unaware of what was happening. I shudder when I think of this story. Because that is probably how thick-headed I come across as a visiting teacher.
"Thank you SO much for letting me come," I say, grabbing my purse for a fast get-away. "If you need anything, please let me know. I really mean that. I do."
I do, really. Really!