I finally got to listen to all of the October 2015 General Conference, since I was in Japan when it happened. One of the talks that really stood out to me was Elder David A. Bednar’s “Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name.” In it he talks about how the church is a gerontocracy, a church run by old men, and how this is a wonderful thing. This was a new word for me, and I love the ideas it presents.
One day, while visiting with Elder Hales, Elder Bednar asked, “What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?”
Elder Hales answered, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”
Elder Bednar goes on to say, “The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can in fact become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight… Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.”
I have seen this in my own life, even though I am still very young compared to the men who run this church. I first experienced this in college, when I was taking 17 credit hours, participating in a play, and working three jobs. Half way through the semester I realized that I couldn’t do it anymore; I quit the play and withdrew from Calculus 2, bringing my credit hours down to 13. School and work, those were the important things in my life at that time.
The lesson I learned from this semester stuck with me, and I try very hard to not overwhelm myself with too much to do. Being a mother, however, there is always too much to do, and I have been trying to weed out the things in my life that are not as important to me. For example, I am not a crafty mom. I would love to be; I have friends who make the cutest things with their kids. The craftiest I get is searching the internet for coloring pages. My kids love helping to pick these out, and occasionally I join in to color with them.
Even within my hobbies I have to scale it back. My garden next year will consist of tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. I might even buy the cucumbers and zucchini as plants instead of using the seeds I already have to make things that much easier. I’ve been simplifying my cooking as well. Thankfully some of the most delicious meals are, also, the simplest to make. I.e. pot roast.
I’m back in school again, taking one class at a time. As much as I want to finish quickly, I can’t without neglecting the most important thing in my life: my family. I believe they will be the most important thing for the rest of my life and into eternity.
Elder Bednar continues, “These men have had a sustained season of tutoring by the Lord, whom they represent, serve, and love… These ordinary men have undergone a most extraordinary developmental process that has sharpened their vision, informed their insight, engendered love for people from all nations and circumstances, and affirmed the reality of the Restoration.”
I’m sure some of this tutoring has to do with being an apostle, but another part of it must be this life, which we view as being a time to learn the good from the evil. I know I’m just at the beginning of this difficult tutoring, but I am pleased with the results so far, and I can’t wait to see what I get to learn next.