We had a fine week. The weather has been mostly cold, with one grueling exception. Yesterday was too hot for comfort in comparison to the autumn chill settling over northern Italy. Hopefully that doesn't happen again. It's delightful today, even if my slow-moving fingers don't agree.
Parma, the city just 10 minutes away and that makes up part of our area, was flooded last week. Lots of missionaries went to help clean up the mud that had devastated lots of the buildings and streets. Thanks for previous engagements we didn't get to go, but I'm glad that there are so many missionaries and members available and willing to jump at the chance to serve.
A cell phone tower was struck by lightning in the same storm. It killed all cell-phones in the area for two days. Maybe I already wrote about this, I don't remember when it happened. It was such a shock, though, how differently the world spun without cell phones. I was surprised at how handicapped we all felt by the loss -- especially members and folks on the street, but even us missionaries who feel like we hardly use the phone at all.
It's amazing to think that just 20 years ago (or even 10 years ago, I guess), the cell phone was nowhere near the center of our social attention. Now a cell phone may as well be a person's soul, or so it seems. I'm glad the mission is teaching me to be the master of my tools, rather than the other way around. One phrase rolling through my head since the cell black out, as I watched people scramble around for some sort of solution on the streets, eyes glued to the screens in their palms as they nearly ran into poles, bikers, and other distracted human beings, is this:
Sii dove sei. Be where you are.
That's a motto I hope to adopt for the rest of my life. There's nothing wrong with cell phones or technology or anything like that. In fact, they're all wonderful, helpful things, geared towards our heightened rates of progress! And yet we must be careful that we act, and not be acted upon.