We had stake conference today. Since we have moved across the freeway in our town, we are attending church in the building I went to as a child. Stake conference is where between ten and fifteen congregations meet together. This meeting was held yesterday and today in the building I went to as a youth. My children love to hear about me as a child, so I told them about attending this two story, two chapel building that even has an elevator. We used to sit with another family that had nine young children and no father. I would sit with the little ones and tell them stories before the meeting began. During General Conferences (thoses meetings broadcasted to the whole church twice a year) we would stay at the building and eat in the kitchen as it was too far to drive back home, and we had no cable then. This building is also where much of my husband's and my courtship took place and where we took our engagement pictures.
As we sat and I looked around the room I saw so many people I knew as a child. I had witnessed many of their trials and had seen much of their growth as people and in the gospel. As a child, I can remember thinking that some of these families were perfect, only later to discover that they weren't, but that they struggled and worked towards better following God just as I did and do. I can remember first attending Relief Society, (a class for women) with all of these grown up ladies, when I was eighteen, to discover that these were real women with trials and triumphs and that they were intimate friends of my mom. I sat next to her in that class and felt that they cared about her deeply, like she was their sister. That was the first glimpse of the sisterhood in the church that I received.
I listened to the speakers today, and I have thought about all that was said. One thing struck me. One speaker said "we are in eternity." This life we are living now is part of eternity. We do not need to be in a hurry for we have eternity. Another speaker talked about advice he had received once, "don't be a busy bishop." He applied this to all of us. If we appear to be busy how likely is it that our children will say, "hey, Mom, can I ask you something?" How likely is that the shy neighbor or ward member will come to you for help? This hit me, because I am busy.
How can I be less busy? How can I make time for my little ones and for others? I may need to be creative. My mother always had things to do. She had a sewing room, where she constantly was making something. It was also a room where her children were always welcome. She had lots of places we could sit and talk to her as she worked, and we did. We sat and told her everything, and she listened and didn't judge. She listened, sympathized and encouraged. She could have locked that room and declared it her room and her spot for me time, but she didn't. We were welcome, and she made sure we knew it. Oh, how we loved her for it. We also avoided a lot of trouble, because of her quietly inviting us into her room. As a youth I remember a speaker say that if we were on a date and a boy was getting a little too close for comfort to casually mention that we couldn't wait to get home and tell our Mom about the date, because we told our mothers everything. He said it in a half joking way, but for me it was pretty much true and it was because my Mom was not rushed and she had arranged her home in such a way that we were encouraged to come in and talk.
As we left the building today a woman stopped me, introduced herself and said I was her big sister at girls camp when we were youth. After loading everyone in the car we drove home and I pointed out the place my husband proposed to me, a little restaurant called "Vince's" set back off the road and closed except for dinner.
Once I wanted to move away from this town where everyone seemed to know me. "You are Ken and LaRyce's daughter." But, now, I am glad to be back. This little town has exploded into a large busy town with new stores and a lot of traffic. There are many new faces and special people I have not met, yet under it all my hometown is still there, and now it is me that introduces myself to those, who have not seen me in many years as, "Ken and LaRyce's daughter." The reply more often than not is, "oh, LaRyce! I just loved your mother." Yeah, me too. Mother meant home, but in a way so does this town.