On Saturday I got a call from my girlfriend Judy, she asked if I wanted to go to the Temple open house in Arizona. First, I didn't even know there was a Temple open house in Arizona. I swear Judy will be a better "Mormon" than me someday. Second, this very practical friend of mine was proposing we do something so ridiculously crazy that only a college student would attempt it, or maybe a band groupie. Neither of which fit our current places in life. She wanted to fly down Tuesday morning and come back home the next day. It would be a whirlwind adventure in search of spiritual confirmation, and epic adventure of self discovery and for me a one night bonus to see my family.
Judy has been investigating the church for a year and 1/2. At first I worried about outing her on this blog post, but then I figure Judy that none of your friends check my blog and all of my friends know you are still "looking into" it. So you are no longer a closet investigator :-) I have had the privilege to sit through missionary discussions, have her company at church and laugh together with our two families at a few church activities. Her daughter Kaitlyn is Emily's best friend. Long ago I knew I wanted to share the gospel with her, but there was always that fear of putting distance between a growing friendship. It wasn't until a year and 1/2 ago when Judy was pining away on her bed during a long recovery from surgery that brought her to a place of curiosity. After some reading and several hours of BYU TV I got a call from her one day saying, "when are you going to tell me about your church?" I was over there that evening.
Now here we are headed down to see the Temple. Without a passport to go to the Vancouver Temple which was only a few hours away the only other option that was available and would be available until 2012 was the Arizona Temple.
It felt good to do something spontaneous with a girl friend. And it felt great to be with her in the Temple. There was some discussion about the Temple in my ward's Relief Society a while back. A young mom shared her frustration with not feeling what she expected and wanted to feel during her trips to the Temple. I thought for a while and realized I had similar feelings. It wasn't until this last trip and the pondering about it afterwards that I came to an important realization. I wanted my Temple visits to be grand. I wanted to hear the Voice of the Lord. I wanted my experiences to be awe inducing. But instead, like my visit to the open house, my visits are usually quiet, uneventful and just simply peaceful. I am thinking about that as I write this blog post and I have had a cathartic moment. My expectations are like the Jews from long ago. They expect the coming of the Messiah. They knew the importance of his coming and the role he would play. Just like I have grown up with some knowledge about the Temple and it's place and significance in my religious worship. But the Jews expect Christ to come in grandeur. They were waiting for shock and awe, so that none could doubt. They wanted something that the Lord was not. He came quietly as a baby born in a stable. He was a Carpenters' son. He taught peacefully through stories and analogies. Nothing about Christ was GRAND. He was the Son of God and yet the Jews overlooked him in search for someone bigger and better and larger than life. That is exactly what I have done with the Temple all these years. I expected something grandiose, and I was so caught up looking for it that I haven't ever really felt what the Temple is all about. I was always looking for a huge sign and ignoring the quiet assurance.
It wasn't until I was walking with Judy through the halls of this new Temple that I allowed myself to feel and understand what the Temple was and the way it made me feel. It was home. A safe place were I felt like "Somebody", a daughter of a king. I have a Savior who waits patiently for me to grow up and overcome. And that peace that I feel in the walls of their house...I don't feel ANYWHERE else.
So Judy, thank you! Thank you for taking me on a journey. Thank you for helping me to find myself again. Thank you for being a great friend and example. Thank you for a whirlwind, spontaneous and totally fun trip of discovery.