This week we helped my parents move most of their stuff into a storage unit to help prepare for their upcoming move to Boise. It was a long couple of days, but was incredibly fun to see and talk to parents and brothers and brothers-in-law and cousins and nephews. I wish we would find other ways to see each other, but it seems like we only make the time to really see each other if we’re attending funerals or loading moving trucks.
When we finished the move and got back home exhausted, we then got to wake up early Saturday morning to embark on the daunting undertaking of watching all five sessions of the semi-annual LDS General Conference. That's 10 total hours (plus another 90 minutes we spent last week watching the first session).
This weekend, we determined to do better. We woke up early enough not just to start the sessions on time, but also to have showered and gotten dressed and eaten breakfast first so that we were all awake and alert during the sessions. We stayed all together in one room to watch and avoided scattering all over the house and playing Legos or putting together puzzles while we “listened” to Conference in the background.
I have to say that it was an amazing experience. We all learned so very much. And we all ended the weekend feeling close to each other, happy about life, and eager to do better in our daily and weekly habits as a family and as individuals. It’s not all rosy, of course. We’re also exhausted. It was taxing. We all agreed that going back to work and school sounds really relaxing. But it was still, on balance, an extremely positive experience.
It will take months of review to sort out and mentally index all the things I learned. Right now they are all just loosely and incompletely floating in my mind and trying to settle into the framework of my brain. A few things do stand out now, but even those are a little challenging to recall exactly or to precisely connect to the right speaker or session of the Conference.
But one talk continues to linger more clearly in my mind. It was by Carlos Godoy, whom I’d never heard of before. He’s Brazilian, and—as part of the wonderful and brand-new feature of General Conference—he gave his talk in his native language of Portuguese instead of struggling to translate it into English. It seemed to give him great ease and comfort to focus on his message instead of worrying about the accuracy of his language. And it was lovely to hear little snippets of Portuguese (which Wendy speaks fluently and which I kind of understand a tiny bit of) underneath the concurrent English voiceover.
He talked about the risk we often face of becoming content with a good life instead of working toward a great one. In his own words:
- “Just because things are going well doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for something better”
- “If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled? Or is a change in course required?”
- “We are not here in this life just to waste our time, grow old, and die. God wants us to grown and achieve our potential.”
- “The best paths are rarely the easiest. In fact, it is often the opposite.”
- “Are we prepared to leave our comfort zones to reach a better place?”
But this talk by Carlos Godoy, and a few others from the General Conference, reminded me of what I already knew deep down and what the Holy Spirit has already confirmed to me time over time: This is where I’m supposed to be. There are specific lessons I need to learn here and specific ways in which I need to grow. There are specific needs in my region that—believe it or not—I’m uniquely qualified to accomplish. This is the job I’m supposed to have and these are the challenges I’m supposed to face right now.
I’m thinking tonight of the great promise of my life—both now an in eternity. I’m thinking of the blessings promised in my
Patriarchal Blessing. And I’m thinking of my own career and personal goals. General Conference reminded me of those and reminded me that I’m so very glad for this challenging time and for the opportunities I’m given every single day to learn, to grow, to be humbled, and to seek help.
Yes, I have a hard job. And yes, it’s a particularly hard time in this job that’s already hard. But if it weren’t sometimes this hard, I’d not be learning or growing or contributing in any special way at all. So thank goodness it’s sometimes this hard!
And who knows…..if I keep plugging away at it, I might someday make this good life of mine into a great one.