This past weekend the words "Conference" and "weekend" seemed to me like a complete oxymoron - like "calm winds" " or "holy war" or "great and terrible". I've quickly learned that JB and I are in opposite camps in the way we observe conference. I grew up either attending conference at our stake center, or watching as many sessions as I could tolerate on TV, or quietly playing so that my parents could listen. JB grew up listening to conference on headphones, while doing "projects" with his Dad around the house. I won't tell you how we spent Saturday but will give you a two word clue: MULCH and TOPSOIL. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and frustrated and I felt like I had "missed" the majority of the Saturday sessions. I could have gone inside to listen, but the kids were outside and getting in the way, so I felt the need to either entertain them or help with the work. Conference used to be such a relaxing, edifying, uplifting experience for me, and this time around it was as bad (if not worse) than my worst Sunday (another oxymoron).
Sunday brought "indoor projects", which required the kids to be again out of the way, and I found myself frustrated with EVERYONE and totally unprepared for Conference. It also didn't help that both kids and myself have colds (allergies?), Yaks is cutting some molars and none of us slept well the night before. Even after projects were wrapped up, it was still so distracting for me to try to answer the kids' questions, mediate the sharing of markers, play-doh, etc. while still trying to listen to the speaker. Boo did enjoy the choir numbers (she thought the BYU girls wearing black on Saturday was totally unacceptable and thought they should have worn "pink" instead. I'll let someone know.) and both kids would automatically say "amen" at the end of the talks.
By the time Elder Ballard and President Monson stood to give their talks, I was sitting at the kitchen table coloring with the kids. They left to play downstairs, but I just sat there and colored, tears welling up in my eyes and feeling like a total failure both days as a mother, as a wife, and as a "saint". They were wonderful talks, but I felt like I could have gotten "more" from them, had I been more prepared or communicated better or something.
This morning I started prepping our FHE lesson: Hold to the Rod with this fun little Tree of Life Game, and I got thinking about the Rod of Iron and the journey to the Tree of Life. I think the most difficult process once we are on the path is the "enduring to the end" and "pressing forward" portion. Often I find myself spiritually "tired" and I want to set up camp, or at least just take a rest for a while. I look around at others' seemingly effortless progress and I feel inadequate and "weak-link-ish". Then when I feel like I've fallen short with even the simple things I have been asked to do (ie: Watch Conference), I feel like and even bigger failure and that I'm dipping my toes in the river of filthy water or taking the scenic "strange road" tour! I think the hardest part for me is to think back on my life on the times when I was spiritually strong, when I was a tireless leader, when I was making great strides towards that great goal. Those times seem so long ago. :(
But, I'm determined to keep on pressing on. Although I didn't get to watch every talk, I've made it a goal to watch every one this week during naptime (thank you, EyeTV). I also need to do better and make time for more meaningful scripture study and prayer. I'm anxious to hear your favorite talks and insights that you received. I'll catch up to you soon! Slow and steady wins the race! (oxymoron)