Several months ago I had the opportunity to go to the Cedar City, Utah Temple with my oldest daughter. The temples for my Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) are sacred buildings for us. We perform ordinances and make covenants with the Lord within these temples, and you cannot enter yourself until you are at least 18 years of age. Often people enter just before they leave on their missions, or just before getting married and sealed as a couple. Our temples have been closed the last year due to Covid, but started opening up on a limited basis at the end of 2020. My daughter was preparing for her mission, and was in Cedar City as she had been attending college. My parents are temple workers, so she was able to schedule the session with them as the workers, and she was able to invite only 17 people to attend with her because of the Covid restrictions, so most of the people in attendance were family, the rest were close friends. I was able to fly down that morning, and escort her through for her first time that evening. It was an awesome experience, and brought back so many sweet memories from when I went through just before getting married. It was a wonderful evening, and I am grateful for the spiritual strength that comes from going to the temple.
But, it was also hectic in a way. I had spent the night on several airplanes getting there, then the 3 hour drive from the airport. It had been a long 36 hours by the time we got there that evening, and I was really focused on helping her have a great experience and not be worried as she went along. It was also a great reunion with my family as well, as everyone had been busy earlier in the day, so it was the first time I had seen most of them. The next few days were a whirlwind of activity, and then I got on an airplane and left to go home. It was a wonderful trip, lots of memories, but I didn’t really take the time to reflect back on exactly what had happened.
Last night I was able to attend again, this time with one of my daughters best friends and their family in the Anchorage, Alaska Temple. She is leaving on her mission as well. It was so interesting to see things from almost an “outside looking in” perspective as I was able to sit back and watch this wonderful mom helping her amazing daughter the same way I had helped mine. I was able to finally sit back and reflect a little bit on that night in April, to really think about and appreciate the experience. I remembered the instructions, the excitement, the nervousness that she had before hand. I remember the family and the opportunity we had to have most of us together in the same room for the same purpose. I remember seeing my daughter, not just as my daughter, but a future missionary, a future wife and mother, a daughter of God, one who can and will change the world around her.
There was a spirit of understanding last night, a spirit of gratitude. It was almost overwhelming several times throughout the evening, and continues to be so today as I reflect on both of these evenings and the great opportunity that it was to be in those temples on those days, with those people, some who are literal family, and some who are family by choice. I am grateful for the temples of my Church and for eternal families. I am grateful that the Lord gives us these opportunities to experience again, often from a different perspective, so that we have that chance to reflect back. Sometimes it’s to learn, sometimes it’s to experience again and remember, sometimes to see things more deeply or experience from that new perspective. Often it is a combination of many reasons. Today I am grateful to reflect and feel just a little bit deeper the love that my Heavenly Father has for me and my family, and the love He has for all His children. I hope you can see His hand in your life and that you can reflect more deeply on the love that He has for you.