First, I must apologize.
I had way more fun writing this article than you could ever have by reading it. I’m sorry.
Nevertheless, I recently had an epiphany of sorts. We often think about leaving our personal histories for our families and posterities. And that is true. We do record histories for others, but that is a secondary reason, actually. We write in a journal for ourselves. Does that sound weird? Of course it does. That’s why I missed it for so long, but the older I get, the more I realize that despite what we may think, recording a history is a bonus first and foremost to the author.
Every day, we see miracles all around us. Sometimes we seek out the opportunities and take part in realizing them. Other times, we witness them vicariously. Either way, we are edified. My daughters have had the opportunity of serving in third-world countries. Their experiences were wonderful and in many ways life-changing—for them and for us. Miracles happened as part of their service and still occur today because we recorded their experiences, and relive and cherish them over and over.
For this reason, Operation Smile is one of my favorite humanitarian organizations—one of many. As we support and celebrate the worthwhile activities of these humanitarian organizations, we get to enjoy and relish the good that they do, even when our ability or resources don’t allow us to directly participate. It’s incredible.
In fact, because I am kind of a techie, I began a website for my family: it tracks our activities, experiences, events, and the things that I believe in and cherish in my life, which of course pretty much all convenes around my immediate and extended family.
My 90-year-old mother often tells us that her memory is fading. She has been the catalyst for so much fun and good in our family. It was her dream that led us into the country four decades ago, which became a wonderful experience and is a cherished memory for us all still these many years later. The experience was filled with incredible joys (and challenges as well).
To lose memories of these significant times would indeed be a great loss.
Having written down a few of the memories of Castle Valley, I have seen the children and grandchildren now enjoy and relive these experiences with Granny and Grandpa even though many of them were not a part of that original move or the memorable events of that day. These journals enable us to relive these precious times again and again.
I’m also grateful to have recorded memories and details about my true love.
The best choice one can ever make is to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Subsequently, I made the decision to marry the right person in the right place, at the right time, and by the proper authority. This privilege to wed my sweetheart and have a family has brought me a lifetime of joy. I could go on and on about the wonderful family she has given me, our beautiful home, her constant love, support, and patience amid life’s challenging times. But suffice it to say, she is exemplary in so many ways.
She is just perfect for me.
Recording what is important to me is like listening to my favorite song or musical rendition frequently. I get to celebrate all these good things in life—not just once, but repeatedly.
And that blessing is not unique to me. Today, young people wear their earbuds everywhere, and background music serenades everything they do. They are interested in listening to their favorite tunes that make them feel good and inspired. They repeat this activity frequently.
YouTube shows evidence of that principle as well. One of my favorite tunes has 179,756,480 views. That means people have collectively listened to that song the equivalent of, well, let’s see… How can we understand this large number of repetitions?
Perhaps this example will help: my family and I like football … a lot. A number of years ago now, BYU built a multi-million dollar football stadium in Provo, Utah. It is gigantic and accommodates screaming fans, marching bands, cheerleaders, and the teams. After LaVell Edwards’ incredible record as head coach of the BYU football program for 29 seasons, this football stadium was renamed the “LaVell Edwards Stadium.” I recall this event back in 2000 very well. The stadium holds 65,000 people. That is a lot of raving fans.
So for comparison purposes, the number of views of that one song is like the equivalent capacity of 2,765 Lavell Edwards football stadiums. I asked my daughter how to find the most-listened-to YouTube songs, and she said “Google it.” So I did. One popular song showed 3,977,870,824. That is nearly 4 billion views, and that wasn’t even the leader! I think you can say with confidence that people like repeating things that make them feel good, like songs.
Repeating worthwhile memories has the same meaningful value. They allow us to relive the good experiences over and over again. We feel inspired and motivated.
When it comes right down to it, there are tons of things you can celebrate and learn just by capturing your history and sharing it on the largest personal history medium that has ever existed… so far. But remember, we are still working on our histories each day, and the online histories continue growing exponentially every day.
One more story:
I didn’t walk miles in deep snow to get to school. I didn’t have to plow fields with oxen or wrestle them to make my way home—but I have witnessed stories of those that did. And because of their sacrifices, I have had it really, really good. We all have. My whole life has been in the lap of luxury within this great nation, just as a regular citizen. We all have been immensely blessed. Yet I am seeing things happening right before my eyes that we couldn’t even conceive a few years earlier. Similarly,I have no doubt that what is about to happen in our very midst will make the technologies and miracles of today look ancient. So like President Nelson said, hold on to your seat and fasten your seatbelt, because the amazing things that we have witnessed are nothing compared to the miracles we are about to see, experience, and record in our very own histories.
How do I know this? I have already experienced it throughout my life. And so will you if you consider the great blessings we take for granted every day. This is a continuation of the wonderful, miraculous promises we have already been given.
In today’s jargon, that realization “blows me away.” And as part of the kingdom of God here on Earth, we are already victorious.
And for that, we need not apologize.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.