To sign up for Meridian’s Free Newsletter, please CLICK HERE.
When I was a little kid, every parent in my neighborhood had told their kids that we never use the word “hate.” But that word and many others come to mind every time I think about technology.
I know some folks love it. One of my girlfriends sits up in bed playing with her new cell phone just to learn all it can do. Another one designs web sites, and another one actually wrote the book, Sharing the Gospel Through Social Media, which honestly does make it easier. I seem to be surrounded by techno-savvy people.
And then I think about a grad school professor of mine who said, “The more I learn about computers, the tighter I grip my pencil.” He and I were on the same page, and it was not an electronic notebook page. It was a lined, physical page.
I’ve tried to get up to speed, but it’s an ongoing struggle. I thought about posting one of those safety signs you’ve seen in work areas that say, “32 Days Without an Accident,” only mine will say, “32 Days Without Asking My Kids For Computer Help” (as if I could ever go that long).
So when the church asked all of us to get involved in indexing, my immediate reaction was to let the technophiles do it. Besides, typing all those names and dates sounded tedious and boring.
And then I felt a kernel of shame. Just enough shame to motivate me to watch some short tutorial videos on indexing. This removed my shame immediately, because I found they didn’t make it easy enough. I need a tutorial that begins, “Sit down in a chair. Face your monitor.” So I shrugged and decided it was still too complicated.
And some time went by. And the kernel of shame came back. Maybe now I could watch the videos again, and something would make sense. But I was just as confused as ever. And then I got an idea, one I should have gotten the minute our leaders asked us to do this. I decided to pray.
And I felt like such a dope, because I’ve often said that whenever we’re told something we don’t agree with, we should just do it and then pray for a testimony of it. And here came indexing and I didn’t apply that formula at all. I simply stuck my head in the sand. This required no faith whatsoever.
So now I prayed for help understanding the video. I prayed for some way to make it work. I prayed until I meant it. I prayed until it became a fervent desire. And I got the idea to ask my son, Richie, to help me decipher the instructions in one of the videos. So much for my “32 Days” sign. Richie pulled up a chair, sat down beside me, and showed me what to do. He didn’t do it for me; he made me learn it, even using my old, “If you teach a man to fish” line that he remembered from his childhood.
I chose a batch of 10 draft registration forms from World War II, and Richie supervised as I finished entering one man’s name, birthplace, coloring, height, weight, and identifying features. Then he left. I stared at the screen. I stared at the keyboard. Now what? And suddenly it happened.
I cared. I honestly cared about that man. He was only 5-foot, 7-inches tall and weighed just 140 pounds. And he was going off to fight for his country. His mother signed the form and wrote down her son’s identifying scars. Imagine her thoughts, as she pictured this information possibly being needed to identify his body. In an instant, God gave me an image of this man, raised in rural Utah, and now volunteering to leave home and family and go thousands of miles away, to risk his life.
And they kept coming. Row after row, I met soldiers and family members whose lives would never be the same. I pictured their ancestors today, searching online for tidbits that might link family lines together, all in hopes of submitting relatives’ names for temple sealings. Wow. Every line I completed felt like the most important work I could possibly be doing.
And then I recognized what had happened. So often when we pray not for what we want, but for what God wants, he not only grants us the desire of our hearts, but he showers us with blessings beyond our hopes. Not only had he helped me learn how to index—a tender mercy—but he made me love it. Nothing could have surprised me more. And that was a pure miracle.
Watch the music video of Hilton’s song, What Makes a Woman, from her new musical, The Best Medicine (with music by Jerry Williams). Her books and YouTube Mom videos are available on her website, here. Hilton currently serves as a Relief Society President.