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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Conference comin' up--Getting something out of the hours spent listening

No matter how many times I have watched conference or listened to conference while at the kitchen table painting my latest masterpiece, I end up surprised when, at the end of the meeting, there has been no mention of me.

It’s much like when I was a kid listening to the Academy Awards, where I expected to hear my name called even though I was neither nominated for, nor had I been in a real film that year — well, ever.

I equally had expected to hear my name at the Tony awards, but so far, no. Kristen Chenoweth will have to keep it safe for me until next year

There has been no special Pulitzer either, nor anything with a postmark from Oslo— not surprisingly as it is 4,700 miles away. But Salt Lake City is next door, and I am continually not mentioned by name from the church pulpit.

Not that I really need to be the theme of the session. A little “We would especially like to thank Brother Cheney who has been trying hard not to swear and who has made great strides in paying his tithing" would suffice.

“It’s like the speakers were talking directly to me,” my friends certified as we put away chairs from the overflow in the cultural hall. Friends seemed to get these direct messages every time someone spoke and I was starting to feel left out.

I have always looked for that something personal said just for me. As a young conference listener I thought the speaker should know of the pain I was in and how hard I was trying and that he should throw me a special wink or a nod, or a mention of my nice tie. I wanted my own message wrapped and handed right to me.

Many times I heard my dear grandma — the one who lost her subtlety and her teeth in the war — sitting in the living room looking at me over her crocheting, mutter, “Hope he heard that this time. What is he waiting for, an engraved invite?”

That’s exactly what I was waiting for. “Likening to us,” was difficult because I was really only trying to “Liken unto me.”

Recently, however, I am finding fits in strange places. There seem to be plenty of moments when I have to rush to borrow a pen to write down a touching and unexpected reference. There are instances when I have to re-think my position on a topic or re-evaluate my side of an issue.

Less acknowledgement and more knowledge, I suppose.

I am often put on edge by a reminder that we are living below our privileges. I am sometimes put at ease with an address telling us we are doing well or another which encourages us to focus on faith and not fear.

Although I don’t hear my name, I get the message — even though the message may have been meant for everyone else as well.


  1. KSL sent me here. My first thoughts are that you really, really, need to rethink the layout and color scheme of your blog. It's driving me nuts. Your navigation lettering blends in with the background, and the blues don't contrast enough to really focus my attention anywhere; not to mention as they are, they look a little tacky. My advice is to google "color scheme generator"; or do a little studying up on color theory. As for your writing, I admire your courage in trying to compete in any creative enterprise - easily the most competitive work in the world right now (and unfortunately saturated with those simply looking for fame and fortune and who are not actually that creative). I wish you luck.

  2. I'm here from KSL, too, just to let you know that if you want any help with invitations for the baby shower, I would be glad to help (free of charge). Maybe you've already done that part, but if not, I'd be happy to help! I do it as a hobby that turned into something I get paid for. :) So I have lots of templates already made that you could pick from. If you're interested, you can e-mail me at goodfrau@gmail.com .