In our church, we have a bi-annual meeting called Stake Conference. It is when all of the church members in one large area gather together to have a joint meeting in our Stake Center meeting house. Since the crowd is generally greater than the capacity of the chapel, the overflows are opened to allow for extra seating- my guess is for about 3500 people. (Be aware, this may be extremely inaccurate as I am terrible at guessing.) *Update: current estimates place this number closer to 900. Again, I am a terrible, terrible guesser.
Last October, Jazz and I went to our Stake Conference meeting together. We were right on time, which means we were a tad bit late. We snuck in the back, resigned ourselves to a row of uncomfortable metal folding chairs, and settled in for the meeting. More people came later than us and filled up all of the space in front, behind, and around us.
Except for our row.
For some reason, no one wanted to sit by us. This entire meeting house was packed with people, chairs were set up on the stage and in the rooms surrounding. Every square inch was filled with people- except for these four lonely chairs next to us.
I know I should have been paying attention, but instead my mind wandered to those four empty chairs. I pictured our lives six or seven years down the road. By then we would probably fill those empty chairs ourselves- with wiggly little kids. I pictured how we would handle two hours of reverent time with our children. I would probably sit between the trouble makers, Jazz would keep the youngest busy on his lap. I would tote around the typical church bag filled with reverent activities and colored pencils and scripture cut outs.
The whole thought was fairly brief, but I have thought about those four empty chairs ever since then.
We just had our Stake Conference again this past Sunday- so much has changed in six short months.
We are in the process of filling that first little seat with our first wiggly kid.
And I couldn’t be more excited.