Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Generally Good Conference

Ah, General Conference. A time of great spiritual enlightenment and uplift. . ment? Something like that. I really look forward to this time twice a year when we get to hear the words of the apostles and prophets. I feel like it's a chance to take a good look at where we are spiritually and reassess what we are doing with our lives. It's kind of like New Year's, only it happens twice a year. And I especially love that it happens in spring, when everything around us is being re-born.

However, since I became a mom, GC feels like just another day of taking care of the kids, with the added bonus that I really want to hear what these people are saying, but it's nearly impossible.

I'll admit, the Saturday morning session, I was pretty grumpy. I think I started the day grumpy, and then things fed off each other, and somehow by the time President Uchtdorf was welcoming us to conference, I was wound pretty tight. Then let's add in Julia's talking and singing and dancing and asking me for something to eat every 20 minutes (growth spurt?), and Ella's constant need for exploration and to put non-toys in her mouth, which is a particularly strong need in our bedroom, the one room in the house that we can stream conference. And then we'll throw in some kids who won't take a nap, and the ever present reminder that Ella needs to gain weight and yet won't eat (no matter how many times I tell myself that she is perfectly healthy and to quit worrying about it, I stew over it), and there you have a recipe for disaster. I was wondering what the point of all this is, no one is getting anything out of this and it's just causing more stress. I came back into the room during Sister Stevens' talk (yes, this was all within the first half hour of conference, I have no patience), and she was talking about the blessings of children, and I actually said, "Oh, you mean how your life is over after you have kids?" What a great attitude! That Shannon, such a ray of sunshine.

But I kept listening to her talk, and the Spirit once again whispered to me that this won't last forever. That these small children will grow up, and then be gone. I'll have years and years to listen to General Conference, but I'll only have my babies for a short time.

So I lowered my expectations. I knew I wouldn't get to hear every single word. I knew that Julia would never sit still for even one talk. I recognized that everyone has basic needs that must be met, regardless of who is talking over the pulpit. Poopy diapers wait for no one! And the rest of conference was so much happier. I felt refreshed, even though I probably only got about half of what was said.

And then, and then, to make my joy complete, Clark asked Julia what show she wanted to watch on Sunday morning. She is only allowed to watch church shows, "Primary shows" as she calls them, on Sundays, and she had already watched Mr Krueger's Christmas and The Restoration. She said she wanted to watch the Apostle show. It would appear that she liked it. She knows. I am certain that she can feel the spirit when those men speak. That made me 100% sure that going through the motions is important, even if it feels like no one is getting anything out of it. These little children are more attuned to spiritual matters than we think, and we are building the foundation for a life of devotion to Jesus Christ. Can I give you one more example? We read about Korihor in our scriptures on Sunday night, and Monday morning, Julia sat next to me on the couch and said, "It's going to be all right, Mom. There is a God." Why yes, Julia, it is going to be all right. There is a God. And I'm glad you know it.

So, while I can't tell you what every talk was about, I can tell you that I got a lot out of conference. What a marvelous thing! What a blessing to have the gospel in my life!


Sabrina said...

I get really frustrated about children distractions during conference too, but I just started w/o any expectations this year. Due to a number of different circumstances I hardly heard one talk all the way through, so I plan on rereading / relistening to essentially the whole thing, but I figure I can do that during quiet or after bedtime and really actually get something out of it because, yes, that's the stage of life we're in.

And, just so I don't have to comment on another post because I am lazy, we went to the zoo today too, the Hogle variety.

Megan D. said...

Thanks for sharing this Shannon! You are so great!

Celeste said...

Oh Shannon I totally understand! It's really hard when you want to hear what is being said so badly! You just know that somewhere in there is going to be the spiritual boost that you needed and the feelings of piece and hope and everything else that you're looking for. But then... well then the kids come in to the picture and you start struggling with the "I need to be a good mom and be nice to my kids and hopefully not have them hate conference and on and on..."

It's a definite tug-o-war! I had to do the same thing this year. Just decide that my focus was going to be enjoying the experience, whether that meant hearing the talks or helping the kids, but most importantly not getting stressed or frustrated if something wasn't going right. It was hard but it made a world of difference! And I think it worked.

I also agree with you that the children do know. They can feel the spirit and that is quite possibly the most important part of the whole thing.

(and I make an end of mine epistle)

Judy said...

Yes, much to my dismay, children grow up and then move away. I was blessed to have Sabrina and her children with us last weekend, so I didn't hear as much conference as usual. However, this morning, after they left, I was able to download and listen to the Saturday morning session once again. Technology is such a blessing. You can listen to a talk one at a time when your schedule permits!