Jan 14, 2009

Give first, if you want joy

Today I had a real scare. I'd been toying around with my computer, getting ready to write this blog, but doing other things instead, like checking the entrance requirements for post-graduate degrees at ASU, seeing what's new with my bank account, and reading some of my memoirs to see what I wanted to concentrate on next. I got up to look into my big file cabinet, became fascinated in my old ASU records, shook myself and inwardly said, "Anna, for goodness sakes, get back there and write that blog." The screen had blacked our, and to my horror, wouldn't flip back on. I tried hitting every button I could think of, finally turned my iMac off with the button on the back left side, and still nothing. I pushed it again and the computer made a slushy growling noise that let me know it was trying, but nothing came up.

Again I scolded myself. "You haven't backed up anything for I don't know how long, and you were warned over and over. Just last week you told yourslf to find that little doomaflunky that can hold everything you've got in less than a square inch -- now, where in this household is it? -- and you didn't do a thing about it. Will you ever learn?"

I called my son -- the one whose documentary will be showing at the LDS Film Festival in Orem on Saturday, Jan 24 -- but he wasn't home. His wife thought I ought to take the computer to an Apple store and see what they could do.

Sadly, I unplugged my Mac and started to lift it off the desk to carry it down to the car, when I had a flash of inspiration to give it one more try. I replugged it, pushed the back button, and heard the melodic chord that announced, "have a great day on your iMac, because I'm booting up." I'm sure it was the most beautiful sound I've heard all day.

So, here I am, blogging, even without backing up everything because, frankly, I've forgotten how. Or maybe just where I put that little thingamajig I can put it on.

What I want to talk about this morning -- woops, it's afternoon now -- no, after another interruption it's almost midnight -- is the joy I felt last Sunday that came about mostly from Valerie Steimle, through ANWA. From her writing, I've pondered a lot about the position of the single woman in the Church. I've tried to examine my own response, or interaction with those who were not interested enough (or lucky enough) to have found suitable, good, available men who also, at the same time, discovered them. "Perhaps," I thought, "You, Anna, might be guilty of adding to the problem rather than alleviating it. So, you'd better at least make an effort."

So, this last Sunday, after Relief Society, I congratulated a single sister on how well she had conducted the meeting. I'd seen her often, of course, but never 'singled' her out for much conversation. I told her I'd been watching her for some time and was very impressed with how she projected her warm, caring personality, and that I really wanted to get to know her better. I was rather surprised and very delighted at how much the beautiful smile she gave me warmed my soul. We chatted for at least a minute, maybe four or five at the most. I have no idea how much good it did her, but I do know the joy I felt.

A sincere compliment freely given just might be the best two-way antidote for sad or lonely feelings, as well as a perscription for a personal lift. None of us have control over another's reactions, but if it helps out only at one end of the line, it will be definitely be that of the originator.


  1. As one of those sisters, I can tell you that a simple smile and compliment can make our day. It's tough going to church every Sunday and seeing the happy families and not having one of your own. Valerie did an outstanding job in connecting to singles sisters' feeling. And thanks to you for taking it to heart.

  2. Well said...and done, Anna! I'm going to share your experience with my sisters in RS. We are doing VT interviews right now and I am astonished by the number of sisters who feel like they can't make a difference. I was feeling rather blue this morning and hesitated to write anything until I could shake out of it. Then I decided to write a note to a sister who spoke in our ward Sunday. She did and outstanding job. Just composing the letter in my head brought me a greater sense of happiness. I can't wait to see what happens when I actually send it!

  3. Thanks, both of you. We really can make a difference. I was thinking this morning that my only claim to fame would be that I'm happy. Smiles are contagious. If we smile at two people per day, and those two smiled at two more apiece, and those four at two, and those 8 and those 16, and those 32, and those 64 in theory, within three months everybody in the whole world would be smiling. So what would happen if we smiled at ten, or twenty, or fifty different persons each day?

    Maybe just one thing. We'd be happy.

  4. btw Anna...I am soooo happy for you that your computer worked after all. Now get those files backed up! I know you must have wonderful things written there.


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