I haven’t written in so long and I’m feeling the need to make up for lost time. Maren has totally blasted the New Year with a posting blitz, and I have to do some serious work to catch up. AND, hers have pictures! So here I go, with a fluffy post with no heavy themes with spiritual or social consequences. I just want to talk about how happy I am today.
Yesterday was the first real day I had off from both jobs in quite some time and I’ve been itching for an adventure. I especially wanted to do something that didn’t involve my feet stuck in Olathe. So, I called up St. Louis to see what it was doing for the day and made plans for one amazing field trip.
Four of us (Josh, Kyrsten, Dallin, and I) piled into Josh’s car at 6:00 a.m. and set out for St. Louis with two goals in mind: temple and trampolines. Before I continue with the story, however, I want to share my somewhat irrelevant testimony of the temple. I love being there and I love baptisms. I love the spirit of clean and love and peace and community that I feel when I’m there. This sounds silly even saying it, but I feel so special there. Yes, I love being at the temple.
But what I love even more is going to the temple.
There is a difference, and I’ll explain what I mean.
Living in Kansas City, the nearest temples are 3-4-5 hours away in Omaha, Nebraska or in St. Louis, Missouri. Going to the temple, then, requires a few people in the car to help drive/keep you company/ keep you on the road (sorry, Elders). Every time I’ve gone to the temple, I always always always have gone with a group of people and I always always always have had the blessed opportunity to grow closer to them. I love that in addition to the work we do at the temple, we are able to do work in our own lives to build more meaningful relationships with the people around us just by sitting in the car with them.
Yesterday, I started my day sitting in the car with two people I was still getting to know and another person I’d never met in my life. I ended my day with a fist full of stories and giggles and fun times that bonded us as better friends than when we started. Maybe I’m just a weirdo sentimental sap, but this just lights me up and lights a fire in my soul. For me, going to the temple is as fulfilling and rewarding and soul awakening as being at the temple. Okay, now for less sap and more story.
The trip to St. Louis was a lot of fun. We got there in amazing time (thanks, Josh!) We spent the morning getting to know each other better. Josh works a billion hours at an airport and goes to school full time; Kyrsten is a senior in high school preparing to major in English at BYU; Dallin is a senior in high school preparing to graduate and serve a mission. We talked about our families, about the ward, about summer plans, about music and the general understanding that I was the only person in the car who loved Hanson.
We got to the temple an hour earlier than our appointment, so we had enough time to soak in the temple and the sun by the fountain. The four of us waited in the sitting room for a few minutes before going to the baptistry and met an older couple who was baptizing a brother and sealing the two to their parents. It was really sweet to hear their story. The old man wore hearing aids that clearly needed new ear molds (man, those things can ring!). The temple workers were so sweet and excited that this small group of young single adults traversed the great state of Missouri to go to the temple. After a few minutes in the sitting room, the sisters took us down to the baptistry and fit us for those fine looking Michelin-Man jumpers (I’m still not in love with them, but I take comfort in the shared ridiculousness).
Our group didn’t have any family names, but the senior couple came to baptize the husband’s brother. In the baptistry, I sat next to his wife and got to know a little bit about their story. Her husband was baptized over 60 years ago and was the only member of his family. He was at the temple to be baptized for his brother on the 1 year anniversary of his death. His wife was holding his hearing aids and told me he had to start wearing them 15 years ago after he was hit by 5 cars and broke every bone in his body. At 65 years old, they weren’t sure he would survive the injuries. Yesterday, at 80 years old, he walked in and out of the font to be baptized for his brother, later to be sealed to his parents.
Josh baptized the three of us for about 12 people each. Most of the women I stood for had very French names. When I do baptisms for other people, I sneak a peek at their birthdays and hometowns. I like to imagine the life they had based on this very limited information. I like to feel close to them and I want to know who they are and how they feel about me being baptized for them. What do we have in common? Would we have been friends? Will I meet them in the eternities? Did we know each other before we lived? Did they like ice cream? I only had a few seconds with each person, but these are exactly the things I thought while in the font.
After Josh finished performing the ordinance, I sat soaking wet and wrapped in fluffy warm towels as the temple workers confirmed me for the same women. The men struggled with my 13-letter last name and attempted the first confirmation six times. I tried hard not to giggle as the men bickered a little bit over my head (“no, you have to say the whole name!” “you said it wrong. say it like this.” “my hands weren’t on her head yet!” “that’s the deceased’s name, not hers!”).
It reminded me of the time an ordinance worker pronounced me dead in the baptismal font.
“Sister LadyMo, who is dead…”
“Woah! No, I’m not!”
The men who were confirming me finally got the hang of my name. I love baptisms and I especially love confirmations. This might sound weird, but I love the feeling of hands on my head. Confirmations, blessings, conning people into scratching my head. There is a peaceful connectedness when you put your hands on someone’s head.
As we left the temple and back out into the 65 degree January sunshine, Kyrsten practically skipped out the door saying, “I feel so invigorated!”
I love going to the temple. I’ve had powerful experiences so far: profound, peaceful, personal, and I always leave knowing and loving the people I’m there with better than I did before. For a super cheesy analogy, I feel like Kyrsten skipping out of the temple with the Spirit holding my hand, skipping right along with me.
And then we went to jump on trampolines, but that’s another post.
So much love,