Thursday, September 13, 2012

O Remember, Remember

One of my greatest regrets is that I didn't keep a better journal while I was on my mission in Mexico.  I did well at the beginning, but I got so busy that I decided I didn't have the time to write and so I stopped (I know, I know, I'm an idiot).  A few years later I was reading through my mission journal and I was surprised (and rather saddened) by how many experiences I had recorded that I had forgotten about entirely.  There were people that I named that I had no recollection of, but who at the time were important enough that I wrote about them.

Since that day I have thought a lot about forgetting.  I've heard people claim to have good memories, but the truth is that they don't know if they have good memories or not because no one can know what they've forgotten.  Around this time I heard a talk by Elder Eyring in which he urged us to write about how we saw the hand of God in our lives each day.  As a result of that talk I committed to write in my journal every day and I've been a faithful record keeper ever since.  I started out thinking that some day my children or grandchildren would be interested in reading about my life, but I've come to see that I'm the one who truly benefits.

Before I moved to Arizona I knew it would be hard at first and it has been hard, but it's been hard in different ways than I had expected.  A few days ago I was hit with some particularly bad news and I was feeling pretty down.  I decided to flip through one of my old journals and I found some entries that I had completely forgotten about that I had written when I was a camp counselor at EFY.  Remembering these experiences completely changed my mood from feeling sorry for myself to being grateful.  Maybe they won't mean anything to you because you didn't live these experiences, but they were poignant reminders to me.  Here are some out of context snippets from those entries:

8 June 2010, Tuesday
One thing that I want to remember is the dance competition from today.  About a dozen people danced in front of the entire session one at a time and we clapped for them.  The person that got the most applause won.  An autistic kid named Brad participated and he was really into his dance, but it wasn’t anything special.  For the first time I can remember I felt the Spirit at a dance because Brad got more cheers and applause than any other person.  The joy and excitement shone on his face.  I’m grateful for the amazing youth that made an autistic boy’s day by cheering and clapping for him and making him the dance competition winner.  

9 June 2010, Wednesday
I forgot to mention two things from the dance last night.  First, during a slow dance I asked a short, timid-looking girl to dance.  I had been dancing a lot that night and I was sweating pretty profusely and during the slow dance a mixture of sweat and sunscreen got into my eye.  My eye, being a very wise eye, started watering like crazy and I had to keep wiping tears off of my face.  It was a little embarrassing. 
When I was working at the water table a group of four girls came up to the table and one of them announced that she hadn’t been asked to dance all night.  I told her that it was probably because she was too pretty and the guys were intimidated by her beauty.  Her friend then gave me a high five.  Later that night I found that girl and asked her to dance.
Some of my EFY kids waiting for
something exciting to happen.

17 June 2010, Thursday
During the variety show today a blind girl named Erin Nightingale played a song she wrote on the piano.  I was blown away by how beautiful it was.  At the end the crowd gave her a standing ovation that she couldn’t see, but that we all felt.  
Tonight was the musical fireside and I was really nervous because I know how uplifting it can be and I was worried that my kids wouldn’t prepare themselves for it.  They did a great job being reverent and really felt the Spirit.  Before the program I was talking with Hayley, the only person from our group in the program, and she was saying that very few people were in the choir.  I told her not to worry, that angels would sing with them.  And they did.  

This next entry was after EFY when I was teaching Spanish at BYU.  I think the reason this entry touched me so much is that it's nice when others tell you that everything will be okay, but it's better to hear it from from yourself (well, a younger version of yourself).

29 June 2010, Tuesday
Squaw Peak -- my favorite hike in Provo
I was feeling a little depressed today with my lot in life so I decided to hike Squaw Peak to clear my head.  The hike up was tough and it was hot, but I was pretty much the only person on the trail so I had a lot of time to think.  The first song I listened to on my iPod was “I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me.”  And I felt very grateful because I really do know that He loves me.  It’s easy to forget how blessed we are and I think I’ve been forgetting too much lately.  It was nice to take some time to think and realize that despite my circumstances everything will be okay.  I know that everything will work out.  

More than sappy things, I try to record the funny things that happen.  Here's something funny (well, I think it's funny) that I wrote that I had completely forgotten about until I read it a few days ago.

14 March 2011, Monday
Today was Pi day so we wrote Pi-kus for FHE.  The first line has 3 syllable, the next has one, and the last has four (3.14).  Here are my two Pi-kus:
My first name, yo!

I don’t bake
Girls bake real good 

It was really great to reminisce and remember.  I really needed to read these entries and I'm glad that I wrote them.  Journals are way rad!


Allison said...

I used to be a great journal writer, but it's fallen by the wayside in recent years and become more of a once-a-month type thing. You've inspired me to be better. I can do it every day, and that's beneficial even if it's just a few sentences. Thanks for sharing.

Leslie Elaine said...

I remember that talk by Eyring and started a journal after it but I need to do better. I loved being an EFY counselor, the kids are amazing!

Ben said...

Here's a pi-ku to remind you girls to write more frequently:
You can write,
You are so rad!

natalie said...

You're awesome Ben. Thanks for this post, I needed it.