“Can I help?” said a voice over my shoulder. I set down my spoon and looked over at my mom. We could hear general conference coming through the speakers in the next room, where my dad and siblings were listening. I was the only one in the kitchen, hot-faced and frustrated, with cheesecloth bits and apple pulp all over my hands.
I’d had a vision in my head—one of what my sister calls my “grand ideas”—of serving hot, homemade apple cider to my family during conference. My grand ideas, again in my sister’s words, have a tendency of being “too much work.” I’d tried things like throwing a Thanksgiving-sized picnic in the woods for a family member’s birthday party and teaching myself Latin to get extra points on a certain school assignment. Predictably, most things didn’t turn out as planned—but how hard could cider be?
I’d chopped and boiled as general conference went on. I listened to the words of prophets and apostles while stirring spices into a large pot full of apples. Meanwhile, the rest of my family, whom I hadn’t spent much time with recently, sat together in the room next door, notebooks in their hands, dogs at their feet, watching the conference speakers and discussing the messages.
Now, partway through the Sunday morning session, the speakers’ voices were far from my mind as I strained apple juice from the pulp.
My mom saw me trying to wring the mush in my bare hands. “It doesn’t have to be perfect,” she said. “Just leave some of the pulp in. Hasn’t this taken way longer than it’s supposed to?” When I didn’t answer, she got to work too. I knew she was trying to help me so I could finish faster and join everyone else.
As we worked, I heard Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s voice from the next room. He told stories of reconciliation between family members, how silly things had kept them apart and robbed them of precious moments together (see “The Ministry of Reconciliation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 77–79). “So basically,” I thought to myself, “events are less important than people.” Then the thought hit me again with force: Events are less important than people. Here I was spending hours in the kitchen, trying to give my family a picture-perfect moment of enjoying cider together while watching general conference but ignoring the people I loved most in the world and tuning out the word of God. And time was running out.
I hastily squeezed what juice I could and then tossed the rest of the pulp away. My mom and I cleaned up the mess, put the cider in the refrigerator, and joined the rest of the family.
I sat with my family during the rest of conference. I wrote thoughts in my journal when I received personal revelation, talked with my brother about doing something together that week, and felt a warm, confirming feeling that God loves me and that President Russell M. Nelson truly is a prophet of God.
Later, we did drink hot apple cider as a family. And though I haven’t resolved to abandon my “grand ideas,” I have resolved to always put them second to grand truths—that events are less important than spending time with the people I love, and that there is nothing so fulfilling as learning the truths of gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing that I am loved by a wonderful Father in Heaven.