The day I spent in Temple Square with my mother, grandmother, and a dear friend of mine was so marvelous as to be completely beyond anything I could have asked for except through the deepest desires of my heart. To have all of us surrounded by sister missionaries, by testimony, history, scripture, and the truth that has come to be so essential to everything that I am, to my joy, to life itself... to finally see blossoms in front of me from such a long sowing season--how do I BEGIN to express the joy that came to my heart to be a part of the harvest? God lives! He loves His children and hears their prayers! He may answer them in His own time based upon the fullest understanding and fulfillment of His law, but answer them He does! I watched this happen! After months of begging, pleading, praying for answers about what to say to my mother, I heard in the testimonies of those missionaries what she needed most to hear--about the workings of the Spirit. Witness and instruction came to me that day as we travelled about Temple Square. We watched the Joseph Smith movie together, and they could see in the sincerest tears of my heart's devotion how much I treasure Joseph Smith, what his life and death means to me even though I've never met him personally. Paintings and symbolic portrayals of that holiest love between Heavenly Father and His children--magnificent in every detail.
By the end of the day, my mom turned to me while we were in a church history art museum and said that she felt that she was finally beginning to understand what it means to enter the temple. "You have to live it, breathe it, love it, know it, teach it, preach it... otherwise, why would they let you in?"
I almost cried. "Exactly," I said simply. I never thought I'd hear from her such a beautiful expression of everything the temple is. That in itself is a most precious gift I will treasure forever.
My grandmother's experience in the temple was much quieter, with the few parts of it that were most remarkable. She was invited by one sister missionary to fill out an information card, and my grandmother explained to them--upon declining their offer of a visit from missionaries in her home--that she had my friend and I to be her example of what our church is about. That was quite a sobering moment for me, because I admit that I wasn't the best example in the time we were all together. While I was trying very hard to control myself, I can't say I was always successful with keeping my temper in check. I didn't give up though, and I prayed not only for patience, but that they could at least see how hard I was trying for them. That's one thing I wish I could show them--how much of what I do in the church is for all of us, for the preparation of our place together, in hopes that they will some day be willing to be a part of this great work with me.
That's something that, perhaps, I was hesitant to believe in enough to ask for it, to hope for it, to work towards as an end for fear of the disappointment. But after such a beautiful experience in Utah, I know I cannot be afraid to hope as far as the reaches of my imagination will stretch. There is no happiness, no horizon too far away if I will be believing and willing to travel the distance. How glorious and full is this joy I've found in His plan for my life!
And yet, this is only the beginning. I see now that I cannot even begin to fathom His power to bless me. What great joys are ahead if I will only be obedient and believing?
That question alone fills the darkest reaches of my mind with the brightest light.