Sock matching and ironing are household chores on my kids’ “to-do” list most weeks, unless it's general conference weekend and then I conquer the leftovers. At the conclusion of two days of inspiring talks by leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our sock drawers are as full as our spiritual canteens, and I am personally trying to transform like the empty hangers in our closets that are once again filling the measure of their creation by holding crisp, ironed shirts.
While some experience conference onsite or as it's broadcast in church buildings wearing Sunday best, I love to take the weekend off, hole up at home and watch on our television while surrounded in piles of errant single socks hoping to find their match and make them useful again.
I have enlisted my kids in the past, showing by example the order of folding and overcoming the bad habit of pairing identical socks of different sizes — one of my son’s and one of my husband’s. The lazy error has been known to frustrate morning routines days or weeks later either by my husband’s groans or by my boy who is about to leave for school with one man-size sock hanging over the side of his shoe.
In recent seasons, my ideal plan to become a hermit at home for conference is overshadowed by kids’ Saturday soccer games and rugby matches. My husband, who listens to conference on CDs during his commute, is often distracted from real-time conference by yard work in the spring and tracking elk in the fall. As a result, one of my favorite inventions of modern technology is the digital video recorder that allows us all to watch conference at home when the dust settles.
So last Sunday morning, after a lovely bit of extra sleep and an over-the-top yummy breakfast by my husband, I turned on a slightly delayed conference, nestled into my piles of socks and was amazed when the voice that beckoned my family to join wasn’t my own nagging.
As soon as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was heard, our three teenage girls grabbed notebooks and snuggled up on couches. Granted, they were mostly motivated by the chance to make up absences from early-morning seminary, but I didn’t even have to ask them to come. My youngest brought her coloring books and crayons and made a nest of her own with blankets. My boy and husband sat together listening more intently than I would have imagined but I think the rain outside helped keep them from being distracted.
And there we were all together — quietly listening, admiring and wiping a tear or two with a clean, spare sock when needed. During the hours and several sessions that followed, we brought snacks downstairs and remaining socks were used to soak a spilled drink or wipe away crumbs.
Now, days after conference has ended, after many of us have posted or pinned our favorite one-liners of both wit and wisdom shared by church leaders, I opened my drawer to grab a pair of socks and stopped in my tracks. I wondered if my new spiritual resolutions would last as long as the paired socks in my drawer.
Since Sunday, our family interactions haven’t been ideal. Monday morning was a train wreck when some slept through alarms, others forgot homework and the dash to seminary, school and work was anything but serene. Dinnertime discussions the next two days were unfortunately tense for one reason or another. If we’d all made semiannual resolutions for new spiritual goals, they seemed to be scattering like socks fluffing in the clothes dryer.
But just as obedience leads to liberty and repentance offers peace, recommitting to righteous choices shouldn’t be considered as futile as sock matching. The God-given principles and ideals we’re taught every six months in general conference are an enriching combination of subtle reminders, bold statements and proclamations to be heard round the world. They’re worth every word if adopted by us individually.
So, I’ll put one socked foot in front of the other and be patient with my family’s imperfections. In all my roles as a mother, spouse, sister, Sunday School teacher, community member and, most importantly, daughter of God, I promise to all those I love and those of you I’ve never met that the journey will be worth every step — especially six months from now when we can return and spiritually refuel (and resole) all over again.