Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deep Thoughts Hijacked by Silly Memories

Since today is Pioneer Day, I've been thinking about the summer between my 2 years of grad school at BYU. I spent that summer living in Salt Lake City and working at the Church Office Building for the Liahona magazine as an editorial intern. That summer (1997) also happened to be the 150th anniversary of the pioneers' entrance into the Salt Lake Valley, so the magazine was flooded with pioneer-this and pioneer-that. After a few months, I never wanted to hear about the pioneers again.

However, after a few months, I knew I also would never hear about the pioneers with the same mindset again. Since the Liahona is the Church's international magazine, I read countless stories of people acting as pioneers in their own countries and in their own families, with little support and with many miles to travel in difficult circumstances in order to gather with other Saints or simply to get a temple recommend, not to mention actually attending the temple. The stories touched me deeply and I kept a number of my favorites that we published.

So tonight I dug out my 3-subject notebook that served as my journal during that summer--back when I used to write almost every day (imagine!). I wanted to read by deep thoughts about the work I'd been involved in that summer. I wanted to see if the memories I had about the stories and their impact on me matched up with what I'd written about my time working on these articles. Imagine my surprise when I realized that, lo, and behold, I had no such deep thoughts that summer. Instead, I wrote a lot about the fabulous thunderstorms from the front-row seat of my apartment balcony (which makes my previous post kind of ironic--have I not changed? Still writing about thunderstorms), I recorded my silly romantic daydreams and I tried (or thought I was trying) to get over a certain boy (by writing about him? hmmmm), I wrote about how hard it is to write while downing Haagen Daz sorbet, I recorded treasured memories with my brother and wondered if he would be the same when he got back from the mission he left on that summer, and I wrote about my growing relationship with the city I was living in and the roommates I was living with. But mostly, I wrote about boys and heartbreak and the lack of boys and the unknown future.

I guess it doesn't surprise me that I left the deep thoughts in the Church Office building instead of bringing them home to my journal--after a day of pioneers, I was ready to change the subject. And I guess I'm glad (kind of) that I recorded what I did, even though much of my writing seems overly dramatic and silly to me now. On the other hand, I suppose heartbreak is always dramatic to the person whose heart has been broken. I do wish, though, that my journal showed a little more depth. (Did I not have depth as a 21-year-old?!) In any case, my deep thoughts today, like my supposed deep thoughts 14 years ago, were hijacked by drama, romance, and, of course, the lightning.


draeves said...

I've been reading an interesting book on brain development in children (the author is Jane Healy), and she says that research suggests that for most of us, our brains don't fully mature (in terms of reflexive thinking and foresight) until we're in our mid to late twenties.

But I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with limited journal entries! I spent a summer as a research fellow for Richard Bushman, but I had a horrible crush at the time and I'm sure that any journal entries I wrote from that time are not about how much I learned, but about what this particular boy said (or didn't say).

Melanie said...

I loved that summer! And I loved getting to have so many lunchtime conversations with you! And I don't remember talking about a single pioneer even though we were eating lunch outside a real pioneer cabin.