I have a little two year old granddaughter named Laney. She is an elf with a twinkle in her eyes and a melt-your-heart kind of smile that can knock you right off your feet. “Show Grandma all the bumps and bruises on you knees, Laney,” my son suggested one Sunday night after dinner, just before they all headed for the minivan. Looking at her bunged up little girl knees, I said, “Laney, what did you do to your knees?” With no words, just that twinkle in her eyes and a slow-forming smile she looked up at me. My son explained: “When I go running she likes to come with. I put her in the running stroller and we take off, but before the end of my run she just can’t stand it any more. She wants out and she wants to run with me. She does great, but she almost alway takes a fall. Every time she stumbles she picks herself up off the ground, brushes off her knees and looks at me and says–like it’s just part of the deal, “Oh, I always do that!” The thought of Laney and her colorful knees comes to mind as I consider coming once again to that General Conference time of year.
Six months ago the Lord challenged me to stop strolling in some areas of my life and to get out and run. And I did, but it was not perfect like I wish it had been—or maybe it was! I sure fell down a lot. Do I wish I had done more with what the Lord tried to give me last October? Is my current ability to live the gospel any greater that is was? I sure hope so, but I don’t know so. Am I really any different now that the leaves are returning? I know I am I still trying to overcome some of the same dumb things I’ve been trying to overcome conference after conference for decades. So, on the one hand I am so excited for inspiration and greater challenges. On the other hand I don’t feel at all ready to move on.
Now I can look at this situation in a couple of ways. I can be discouraged with myself. I can regret the fact that I have not become all I wished I’d become when the closing prayer was said six months ago. I can regret all the falling and getting up. Or, I can be grateful. I can focus on the Lord’s abundance—on the fact that no matter how much I have accomplished or not, no matter how bunged up my knees are, the Lord is willing to set before me another scrumptious spiritual feast this spring weekend.
For the next two days we have the opportunity to listen to many hours of inspirational addresses and to be challenged to grow up a bit and get out of the stroller and run the race the Lord is going to set before us. After the final amen is said, I’m going to get out and run again. For six more months I am going to try to move a little farther down that road that leads back to my Heavenly Father. It’s not going to be perfect, and it’s not always going to be pretty. I may get my knees bunged up a bit. This time when I do I want to be like Laney—not because falling is a great activity, but because bunged up spiritual knees mean I’m trying. When I try and fall and try and fail (and I will) I want to humbly get up and brush my knees off and say with a hopeful twinkle in my eye, “Oh, I always do that!”