The Virtue of Killing Time (or Being Killed By It?)

A young friend of mine serving a mission for my church wrote in his weekly e-mail, “This week has been very slow we are having trouble finding people to teach. But we are working on it. “

I responded with the following:

I enjoy hearing about your work…and as you describe the difficulties of not having enough people interested in things, it brings back memories of my time on my mission.

There is a weight to a day that does not have a lot of things in it, when one has to build the structure of it from scratch, and it has to be built (spiritually, by imagining it) during planning meeting earlier in the week, and then again the night before, and yet again in the morning, and then multiple times during the day when things don’t go as planned, and hoped for activities fall through.

The personal strength it takes to do that is great; I’m not aware of any other organization that suggests young people should learn how to do that by putting them into a situation where they have to for weeks and sometimes months at a time.

And yet, once you have mastered that ability, like some athletic ability or some skill which was difficult at first but through practice becomes second nature, that ability will bless your life for decades to come, because it includes diligence, perseverance, mental toughness (we call that faith and hope in the church), physical strength and endurance, and a host of other virtues.  

Three years ago last month I sensed I needed to change what I was doing in my job very radically, and I ended up every day getting up and staring at my computer screen trying to determine what I was going to program (not having programmed anything in over 20 years) and create of value for someone somewhere.  I did it for a full year.  It was very hard.  

After I had done it, I found I had transformed who I am, and what I can do. And I think I saved my job.

Keep it up.  You are doing better than you think you are, as Elder Holland has said.  Only God could make the drought of natural activities a blessing for you.

April 2012 “Mountains to Climb” By President Henry B. Eyring,

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