It was a familiar feeling. A weird familiar feeling. I’m standing on a college campus, doing my best to stop strangers and engage them in conversation. Only this time, I’m not doing it for God.
I flash back to my summer in Seattle all those years ago, spending days at the park around the space needle, asking people if they had the time. The goal – to get them to talk with me. The next goal – to get them back to the Church center for a lecture. The real goal – to win them over for Father.
Then I was fifteen and I looked about twelve (maybe). I was probably approaching college students, or people of that age. Now, I’m way (way) older, and while someone said to me just this morning, “but you look as if you were in college,” I don’t. I have a daughter in college, and she looks like she’s in college. I look like her mom. Her much shorter mom, but her mom.
But still, as I drove to the campus, knowing that I would walk around alone and get anyone I could (any student I could) to register to vote, the feelings felt familiar. Approaching strangers. Interrupting conversations. Starting a dialogue with an ulterior motive. Even if I wasn’t trying to convert this time, it felt strange.
I didn’t convert very many – I only found one student who wasn’t already registered (at least not in Pennsylvania, where a vote REALLY counts) and wasn’t international. I don’t know that my one newly registered voter will make a difference. But I’ve felt compelled to do whatever I can in this election, and registering voters was my assigned task.
It made me remember the brush-offs I got decades ago. The people who looked at me quizzically, or with concern. It made me realize how bizarre I must have seemed, just a little kid asking people to talk with her about God.
I didn’t convert any that summer. I convinced no one to join Heavenly Father’s army. When I flew back to New York for school in September, I remember feeling crestfallen that I’d done nothing for God.
I felt a little crestfallen today as well. In my dreams I’d brought in scores of voters – first because I firmly believe that everyone who can should vote, and second because on a college campus I hoped that votes would fall the way I hope they do.
I’m trying to do my part – whatever that is. But I didn’t expect to kick up old feelings and memories. I didn’t expect to feel like I was proselytizing all over again.
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