Friday, February 20, 2015

The Clock King

"Valerie, where have you been? You've missed all of January and now February is nearly out!" —Y'all. Probably.
I know guys. I got a new job.
See? I'm employed.
I started an internship with the LDS Church News at the start of January. I can tell you it's been one major learning experience after another. One of the biggest things I've learned is that I will probably never have a start to a new job as awkward as this one.

The other thing is that the Lord has perfect timing.

From 2008 to 2012, I studied Mass Communication at the University of Utah. This degree covers things like new media, PR, advertising and my least favorite of all subjects: journalism. Oh, how I hated calling up complete strangers, asking them personal questions, expecting them to give me their time for my benefit. It didn't help that my previous forays into journalism — the high school year book (Olympus 2007-08) — were less than self-confidence boosting and made me hate all aspects of the art with a deep self-loathing. I just can't be a journalist, I concluded. So I did an emphasis in strategic communication so I could just do advertising for the rest of my life.

Then I went on a mission where I talked to complete strangers, asked them deep and often personal questions, and asked them to give me a bit of their time so we could help them spend eternity with their families.

So I came back home a freshly Returned Missionary and Unemployed Bum and searched for work. After a two-month stint at Deseret Book, I landed an internship at the Church News. I had an awkward first week of work (They weren't expecting me to come in until the next week... They let me stay... I don't want to repeat that experience.) and then got right to the stuff I hated.


Fern Nichols with pictures of her family
Well, specifically interviewing people. Covering a devotional isn't that bad because you don't have to talk to anyone. Doing a profile on an adorable, sweet old lady who has been giving tours at the Church Office Building for the past ten years? Terrifying.

Walking up to Fern Nichols' door, I felt like a greenie missionary once again stepping up to a stranger's door to knock on it, except this time without a companion. What am I going to ask? What if she doesn't like me? What if I don't get enough quotable stuff for a story? What if there is no story here?

I just want everyone to know that this woman here is the sweetest lady named Fern I've ever met. Also the easiest hard-of-hearing woman I've ever talked to. Did you know she doesn't dye her hair, still drives her own car, and lives basically independently. She's also a joy to talk to and learn about her life. It felt just like talking to all the old, beautiful, sassy Southern women I met in Florida and Georgia. I left with a bounce in my step and a story in my head.

What in the heck happened? I wondered. I distinctly remember nearly sabotaging my own grades in my journalism classes because I kept putting off doing interviews, as well as doing enough of them. This is a completely different person, one who likes journalism. One who wants to be a journalist.

The answer is, of course, Heavenly Father and His perfect timing. God knows me perfectly, and He knows I like things compartmentalized. I was not going to consider stopping school to go on a mission because I wanted to go until I was done. Fine by Him. At the end of my schooling, I felt a need to go on a mission. So I applied. I may have procrastinated turning in my papers and getting my thesis done, but I applied.

My life has gone 1. school 2. mission 3. career 4.? 5. marriage 6. profit (skip steps 4-6).

I don't know what would have happened if I had gone in a different order, but that's the way things had to work out. If I had not been obedient and gone on a mission, I would not have learned the things I needed to in order to be a happy, willing journalist. It wasn't just being obedient and going, but I had to strive for obedience my entire mission, meaning I had to open my mouth and talk to everyone. I wasn't perfect, which is why I was continually striving, but the point is I keep working on it.

I still feel a bit of hesitation picking up the phone and calling a stranger to ask them for their life's story, but I feel much more confident now. Far more than if I had gone straight from school to work.

The Lord says in Doctrine and Covenants 82:10, "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

Additionally, King Benjamin taught in Mosiah 2:41, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

Be obedient, yo. Now go out and find me a story.

And remember: the Church News comes with the Deseret News on Saturdays and the Deseret News National Edition. You should totally sign up for one of them if you haven't already.

You're going to ask me what I've been doing for the Church News, so here it is: I covered this devotionaldid a profile on a 99 year old lady, did a follow-up to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, summed up a forum at BYU with the president of Pixar, got on the cover with a story on the Family Tree Center, did another profile on a 100 year old lady, wrote this moment on missionary work and have a story coming up on a group — not a branch — that meets on Catalina Island. I've also taken some press releases and made them fit to print.

No comments:

Post a Comment