The Joys of Growing Old

In recent months, I have increasingly savored the resonance I have with people and places familiar to me.

Not all the resonance is pleasant. Walking into work, I sometimes remember the mass shooting that killed 12 of my co-workers. When I take the Van Dorn exit off the Beltway, I see the hotel where a Soviet GRU agent was apprehended in the 1980s as a result of a friend’s willingness to be a counter-intelligence asset. When I drive past a certain park, I remember the suicide of a Woodson student whose disappearance I followed for the many days before their body was discovered.

But other times the resonance grounds me, reminding me that I am among people I know and cherish.

This past conference, I was reminded time and again that I know these people. Because of the use of recorded music, I was able to see Clay Christiansen at the organ, bringing to mind memories of singing at the National Basilica to a concert he gave, then sitting around the table at lunch with him in the Basilica cafeteria as he talked about the organ he’s installed at his house. Several friends were in the Tabernacle Choir for the performances broadcast this past weekend, including one man I remember dancing with at Youth Conference dances, whose sister was a cherished friend.

Several of those who spoke in the conference or during specials airing that weekend are individuals I have met in real life, including a former member of my ward and another who I have met at family gatherings.

No life is the same, so the experiences that have shaped my soul are different from the experiences that have shaped your soul. But I wish for you that the difficulties of this life can become for you pearls of wisdom and that the friendships of this life can become for you gossamer threads tying you to the best hopes God holds for your future.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.

10 thoughts on “The Joys of Growing Old

  1. Fewer contributors. Fewer responses even on hot button things like General Conference and Covid.

    What’s happening in Mormondom? Is someone besides exMormons lazy?

  2. I think the rabid divisions of 2020 have led people to be less interested in banter on blogs. I drafted a post about the Social Dilemma, but it’s rough and I don’t know if I’ll bother publishing it.

    There was a call for a post about the folks who want to denounce the current Church leadership for adhering to what some consider erroneous positions. But I don’t feel like doing that, since I don’t enjoy wrestling with the porcine folks who might decide to try to debate.

  3. I can say I sat through one or more Institute classes taught by rameumptom.

    I enjoyed having pizza with a blogger/author who I admire and her family as they passed through my town.

    I forget if I mentioned before then, or since then, that our times in the MTC overlapped. I think I remember you as the Eurasian sister I saw in the hallway going to/from meals. We must have been on the same, or adjacent meal schedules. (If you can email me a link to a photo of you at the MTC or on your mission, I may be able to confirm.) That young sister stood out from the crowd because there were so few non-caucasian missionaries at the time.

  4. At the MTC did you wear your hair pulled back off your forehead?

    The angle of that photo, and the hairstyle, don’t match the image in my mind, so it’s hard to tell.

  5. “Fewer contributors. Fewer responses even on hot button things like General Conference and Covid.

    What’s happening in Mormondom? Is someone besides exMormons lazy?”

    The answer is really quite simple: most people have moved from arguing on blogs to arguing on Facebook or Twitter. Blogs are old school these days.

  6. Yeah, and the tone of the arguments on social media are, if anything worse than they were on the blogs.

  7. Sidney, yes. This is why I canceled my Facebook account six months ago and have never been on Twitter.

  8. A blog faces the entire world. Social media only faces a select group. But that makes the arguments more intimate and, potentially, more harmful.

    I haven’t deleted my various social media accounts, but I can’t remember the last time I tweeted (maybe in 2010?). From time to time Facebook will let me know something I care about. But mostly that world passes by without me participating.

  9. I had a Twitter account for a while when I lived in the midwest, it was useful for following the National Weather Service during tornado season, but that was about it.

    I keep considering killing my Facebook account, but there are a few old friends there that Facebook remains the only real way to stay in touch with them. But I comment a lotless than I used to. Everything has become an echo chamber of one sort or another, and all the arguments have been folded into the two main opposing camps. Heaven forbid your own opinions don’t neatly track on that divide.

    The more I look at social media, the more I see it as a insidious machine that doesn’t connect us, it divides us, radicalizes us, and homogenizes us into opposing camps of groupthink. And then the owners of these machines shrug their shoulders when the diseased thinking that runs rampant on their sites bleeds over into the real world, with real world consequences.

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