Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy accident

My body is exhausted and yet my heart is ready to explode.  As much as I want to share with you right now the many things I gained and loved from General Conference this weekend, I'm instead going to share a quick experience I had this afternoon and save the rest for later.

It was a particularly busy weekend and due to various commitments, we were only able to watch the morning sessions of General Conference.  This afternoon we had a birthday party in Pleasanton and had to leave the house around 2.  We drove separate cars because Neil, who is working in San Jose tomorrow decided to stay the night in Pleasanton to give him a head start on his morning commute.  When it was time for us to leave, he offered to take the kids in my car (score!) which left me with his car.  I always enjoy driving his little Jetta.  It's a lot zippier than my Altima, with it's fancy turbo engine and sixth gear, not to mention the fact that it has an iPod jack - a feature my "old" '06 Altima lacks.  Naturally when given the opportunity to drive Neil's car, especially alone, I take full advantage, and today was no exception.  I was almost past Manteca, having just turned on one of my favorite songs when, without warning, my phone went dead.  It's done this to me a handful of times in the last few weeks and I can't explain why.  But almost as quickly as it turned off, it came right back on again.  Slightly annoyed, a thought suddenly came to me. 

"Hey, self.  It's 2:18pm.  General Conference is only an hour in.  Why not ditch your plan of listening to music and instead turn on what really matters!  You have that capability, after all!" 

And this is true.  When Neil upgraded his Droid a few months ago, I inherited his "old" Droid and was then officially welcomed into the 3g world.  It's a scary world, I'll admit, but oh so convenient.  And I'd say today I was more grateful for that convenience than ever before!  It hadn't occurred to me to try turning Conference on until my music turned off.  When I hopped onto and clicked "view live session," BAM, there it was.  Over the speakers came the familiar voice of Quentin L. Cook, offering a much more uplifting message than any song stored in my phone could have offered. 

As I drove through the windmills along 580, it struck me suddenly how far technology has come.  That I could drive in my car while listening to the Apostles of our church speak to me LIVE was just beyond my imagination!  What a gift!  Now in a world where technology seems to be improving by the hour this experience may seem small and insignificant.  After all, the ability to watch Conference (or just about anything) on one's phone has been possible for a couple years now, right?  But it was the happiest accident I'd stumbled upon in a long time and, I believe, an inspired one.  Cook's talk was beautiful and in it he shared one of my favorite scriptures, which is Doctrine Covenants 122:7.  It gives such an incredible depiction of what Joseph Smith faced shortly before his death, and offers a powerful perspective on trials in general.  You think you have it bad?  Read this scripture!  And then take heart in its comforting conclusion that our trials give us experience and are for our good.

Following Cook's talk, President Thomas S. Monson, our prophet concluded the session with some words of comfort to the church members.  Of the things he said, here is what I loved most:

"I love you.  I pray for you.  I would ask once again that you would remember me and all the general authorities in your prayers.  We are one with you in moving this marvelous work.  I testify to you that we are all in this together and that every man, women and child has a part to play.  May God give us the strength and the ability and the determination to play our part well..."

"...I leave with you my witness and my testimony that God our eternal father lives and loves us. He is indeed our father and He is personal and real.  May we realize and understand how close to us He is willing to come; how far He is willing to go to help us; how much He loves us and how much He does and is willing to do for us. May He bless you.  May His promise of peace be with you now and always."

General Conference is a beautiful concept.  It gives members of the church an opportunity to pause from the chaos and confusion of life twice a year to come hear inspired men and women of God teach, comfort and offer guidance.  I certainly gained a lot from the short amount of Conference I was able to see and hear this weekend, and my "happy accident" experience is one I'll certainly never forget.

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