Joy in the Temple
As is usual, it’s far later than I had planned on getting to bed this evening, but it has been totally worth it.
Once again General Conference is upon us. I’ve blogged before about how much I love Conference, how it’s like my own personal Christmas, and my favorite weekends of the year. But this Conference seems especially exciting. I’m not sure why, but I’m just a tad more stoked than usual. And, as usual, as has been my tradition for the past four years, I took the day off before Conference just so that I could feel extra ready and prepared to hear the word of the Lord this weekend.
Earlier today (or yesterday really, it’s almost 12;30AM) I got to spend the afternoon with our full time missionaries, Elder Miklich and Elder Coleman. They’re two fine young men out serving the Lord. Then I rushed from my time with them to get ready to attend the temple this evening with the rest of my branch.
I was blessed to take a man from my branch who is in his 80’s. This man, who I am also blessed to work with as a branch missionary, is a pure delight to be around. He was recently ordained an elder, and just a couple of weeks ago went through the temple for the first time himself. I cannot explain how honored I am to be in this man’s presence and to enjoy the insights that he has into life.
As we sat down in our temple session, one of the fullest I’ve ever seen in the Birmingham Alabama Temple (extra folding chairs and everything) we enjoyed the silence of a packed room as we prepared to be fed spiritually. I looked around in the room and felt my heart literally leap in joy at seeing a wonderful handful of people who I love so dearly, and then came in Sister Holly.
Now, Sister Holly would probably not want me blogging about her on the internet. A self-appointed second mother to me, Sister Holly is an older Sister in my branch who is pretty much the greatest thing since sliced bread. Frankly, I’d rather have her in my life over sliced bread any day. But I love this woman, and the world (or at least the folks who follow my blog) deserve to know just how great this woman is.
In any case, the endowment room was filled to capacity with just a couple of seats (and folding chairs) remaining empty. I was already blessed to be sitting next to my dear friend who just received his own endowments, and then in walked Sister Holly. Radiating in her white dress, with her silver and white hair, and carrying her cane (President Hinckley Style), she slowly came into the room with a smile on her face and took a seat with those of us who were already seated. And I felt a tear run down my cheek.
I felt such pure joy to see a group of people that I love so dearly gathered together in such a holy place. And I thought to myself, “This is what the Celestial Kingdom will be like.”
Before the actual temple ceremony starts there are some words of introduction which I have always found insightful, and as I heard them again tonight in both of the sessions that I sat through they took on added meaning. The words are these:
“Brothers and Sisters, we hope you find joy in serving in the House of the Lord this day.”
The scripture came to mind, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25). In short, Adam falling and the entire Plan of Salvation was simply put into play so that you and I might have joy.
And tonight I felt that as I sat in the temple.
And I also felt it as my friend and I ate a late night dinner at the Cracker Barrel down the street from the temple. It’s hard not to find joy in a the Country Boy’s Loaded Breakfast (two pork chops?! you bet it has two!).
And I’m sure that feeling of joy will abide all weekend.
In just a few short hours you and I will be listening to a prophet’s voice. How absolutely amazing is that? To me, it is something that is remarkable beyond words.
I hope that as this Conference Weekend goes forth for all of us that we might feel some joy, and find the revelation we need as we are taught from on high to not just bring greater amounts of joy into our own personal lives, but to share that joy and the pure joy of the restored gospel with those around us each and every day.
Eternal joy will be like that feeling I had in the temple tonight as I saw Sister Holly walk in. Only it will last forever, and there will be so many more people that we love there in our presence with us.