Dear 100 Hour Board,
What do you find meaning in doing?
-finally have free time, but not when others do
Dear Free Time,
I love to spend quality time with Pebble, in the rare moments when we aren't swamped in schoolwork. Being engaged is both awesome and incredibly sucky... so I try to balance the anxiety/fear I feel (thanks, Satan) with beautiful moments of bonding, laughter, and conversation. The more I work on establishing positive, loving communication with him as we prepare for our marriage, the happier I am.
I also currently find a lot of meaning in reading books, articles, and generally just stretching my mind and learning more about the world. I particularly enjoy studying and practicing things that help me in how I interact with other people. I'm trying my best to learn how to be a better peacemaker even with people I disagree with. It's taking a lot of work, but I'm trying to align my intellectual work with my goals of becoming more Christlike. It's... progressing.
But right after Pebble and intellectual/personal growth comes... Sonic Mozzarella Sticks.
Yeah, mostly developing my relationships. I understand what it's like to have mismatched schedules with your friends; sorry that's happening to you. When that happens to me, I try to develop my relationships in the ways that are available to me. A lot of the time, this means hanging out with my friends while we all work. It also means making the most of social media. I recognize that it's different than (and not a replacement for) time spent in person, but if it's all you have, you can definitely do a lot with it. I have a private Instagram account that essentially functions as my journal. I restrict the followership to close friends. I share my experiences, thoughts, and feelings pretty candidly on that account. It keeps me close to my friends who I can't see as often, because they still get to hear about my daily ups and downs, even if I don't have the time or energy to personally reach out to every single friend and update them on my day. I recognize that not everyone feels comfortable doing something like that (and if you do, you should be careful and remember that all of your online posts and activity are permanently and publicly available), but I love it and honestly find quite a lot of meaning in it.
If I'm by myself, I find meaning in dance, in art, and in learning or experiencing new things. I spent a large part of last summer by myself in Phoenix, and I was scared to do that because I thought that I would be bored and lonely. Instead, I made the most of the time. I went to art shows and museums. I went hiking and explored the city. I really spent quality time with myself, and I got to know a new place and its beauty. I don't think you need to be in an entirely new city to do that, by the way; I'm sure that there's a lot to explore in familiar places, too.
Dear Free Time,
Family history, duh! But that's a pretty simple what. I want to tell you why.
Before my experience via Board Question #92802 (the second answer). I had a very difficult time trying to envision on how real our ancestors are. They seemed like strangers to me, but I know that we knew them in the pre-existence. It’s crazy for me to think about that I could be best friends with those who were born in a different century than me. I could have been so close to brown hair brown eyed Carl Jr Peterson who stands at 6’2 with a great smile in the pre-existence. Each of us have those ancestors who feel so connected to us because of the promises we made them, whether we’ve come to realize it yet. The interesting part of genealogy work is that we might not be close to our ancestors right now. But once we get to know them record by record, story by story, becoming attached and loving them is inevitable. That's exactly what happened to me when I named my first son after the first ancestor I worked on.
I had a cool revelation when I was thinking about how a lot of people in the Church are of the tribe of Ephraim. Their privilege and responsibility is to bear the priesthood, and to take the message of the restored gospel to the world. What I didn’t realize was that this doesn’t have to just apply to missionary work to the living on Earth. But to band together with our loved ones who have passed on who are teaching the gospel to those who haven't accepted it yet. It is also privilege to take the message of the restored gospel to our ancestors by doing their temple work.
Henry B. Eyring proclaimed, “Many of your ancestors did not receive those ordinances. But in the providence of God, you did. And God knew that you would feel drawn to your ancestors in love and that you would have the technology necessary to identify them. He also knew that you would live in a time when access to holy temples, where the ordinances can be performed, would be greater than ever in history. And He knew that He could trust you to accomplish this work in behalf of your ancestors.” (source)
I felt at peace when I heard this for the first time. That God trusts each of us to accomplish the work in behalf of our ancestors. Isaiah 42:6-7, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
Not only does God trust us, but will lead us by His hand. We are not alone when it comes to family history work. The spirit can guide us to look at certain places to find information about our family. God has called us in righteousness to be the light of those who need us. We can bring others out of the spirit prison and into the light. We can help them receive the blessings of the Atonement that everyone desperately needs.
I have noticed the difference when Carl I went to the temple weekly before we started doing family history. As busy college students I would be tired, sleepy, and not as focused as I would have liked to be in the temple. But once we started to bring our own names, it all changed drastically. It gave me so much more meaning to my life. My ancestors needed me. I became more focused, happy, and excited that I was doing service for my ancestors. That the piece of paper in my hand was more than just a name, it was a person. Going to the temple became a higher priority because I could feel the excitement of my ancestors learning that they were soon going to be sealed to their family for eternity. If we hadn't been to the temple once in a while, the family that was going to be sealed next would repeatedly pop into my head as a reminder. "Don't forget about us, we want to be sealed." Richard G. Scott stated, “Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received.” Going to the temple and family history need to be considered as one. We cannot have one without the other. (source)
All of these things together give me meaning. I'm now a temple and family history consultant for my ward. Although I may be a stay at home mom now, I have the skills through my degree to help so many more people beyond the veil. Not just my own family, but anyone who will listen to me teach. We are acting like Christ when we do family history work. We don't physically get anything out of it. We are helping people who literally cannot help themselves. But there are there. They are waiting.
I encourage you to consider start doing family history. There are many blessings that come with it. I can tell you what healing I've received from doing family history if you email me at goldie.rose(at)theboard(dot)byu(dot)edu.