I’m impressed to share my experiences at the temple, but after starting, stopping, starting again a few times, I have to acknowledge the fact that I don’t have the words to accurately express how I felt about this weekend. I will start with saying the only thing I know for sure: it was the first time I felt completely reverent. And I’m still not even sure I know what that means. I’m also still processing, digesting, and sorting how I feel about this weekend. Please forgive my incomplete sentences or complete vagueties. I just don’t know how to present or express myself yet.
I traveled to Nebraska with some of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met: Jennifer, Kate, and Charlie Brovont; Cathy and Scott Slocum; Barb and Jane Ceballos; Paul and Natalie Horspool; Adam and Marie Johnson; and Maren Hufford. How lucky am I to have so many freaking incredible people in this life? I don’t know what I did to deserve this family, but I’m grateful. I’m so grateful for them.
When we got to Nebraska, Brothers Brovont and Slocum gave me a blessing. It was beautiful. I was surrounded by people who love me and I heard the most amazingly comforting words. God loves me. He’s aware of me, and He loves me.
To give a better impression of how I felt at the temple, I want to talk a little bit about how I felt the day of my baptism. Mostly, I wanted to vomit (that’s for you, MaJo). I was so nervous. I was unsure, I was anxious, I was scared. My heart beat a million flutters a second and my head was screaming and I felt acid in my heart and belly. These, I assure you, were not comforting feelings. Adrenaline was pulsing through my body and I could feel every cell of my beings shivering like it just ate a cucumber (you’re just going to have to go with me on this one).
At the temple, I anticipated feeling this same way. When I woke up, 2 hours before my alarm, I felt calm. I didn’t feel anything exhilarating, or exciting. I didn’t even feel anything happy. I just felt calm. Maybe even an absence of feeling, if that’s possible. I didn’t feel empty, just calm. I breathed easily, my thoughts were simple, and my actions purposeful (shower, dress, wait for families to meet at my house). I even had a few minutes to watch an episode of Big Bang Theory. Reverent, I know.
All day, that feeling stayed with me. Walking through parts of the temple previously unknown to me, meeting people I’ve never met, and changing into a temple dress I’ve worn once – all of those probably could have given me cause to lose my lunch. I didn’t shake, shiver, quake, or wobble even once. I just felt calm. And peaceful. I felt clearly, but not overwhelmingly, that things were going well and that I had Someone with me the whole time.
I’m prone to over thinking things. I’m known for analyzing things to the point of annoying, and for talking myself into trouble or confusion. On Saturday, I simply was. I wasn’t thinking. I think I was actually feeling.
Everything was new but completely familiar. Parts of me wanted to listen for a secret I’d finally be let in on, but it never came. Instead, the only thing that came was an easy and comfortable feeling. Like being in your sweats on Saturday morning and getting to sleep in. See what I mean when I say I don’t have the appropriate words?
Maren went through for my grandmother, for whom I was baptized almost a year ago. My bishop asked me if I wanted to wait and do her endowment later, but I just felt really good about asking Maren to go through for her so that Nonni and I could received our endowments on the same day. It felt like I could have an extra player on my team. It felt good feeling like Nonni could be there too.
When I finally met my friends again, Maren told me how she was thinking about how Nonni went through first so that she could greet me. I smiled, I cried, I felt so good. It was wonderful to be there. And again, I felt a lot of things being in the temple, but mostly I felt an absence of fear or anxiety.
My friends asked if I had any questions. I pretty much just stared at them, and if anything came out of my mouth, it was just a short string of sounds that really made no sense. Marie pointed out how articulate I was after having gone through the temple 🙂 It was better if I just kept my mouth shut anyway. It felt right to just sit and be still. I just wanted my soul to be still.
I don’t think I’d be lying if I said I didn’t say three words for the next three hours. I wasn’t shocked, I don’t think, but I was certainly still digesting and processing everything I learned. I think I was trying to carve out a vocabulary or a familiar space for the things I felt. I didn’t quite know how I felt, and to be honest, I think I still don’t, but I do know that it falls under the “good” category. I’ve got at least that much.
Today at church, I was reading 2 Timothy 1. If anything could express how I feel about my endowment, it would be this:
7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Yup. That’s what I’ve got so far.
I think if I were to explain this to someone going through for the first time, I would compare it to “syllabus day” at school. Really, the first day of school is only to be introduced to the semester: the teacher outlines the material and makes clear the student expectations. You’re shown everything, but never dive into all of the material. It isn’t until you go back for the next class do you start to learn the first chapter. And then you go back again for the second chapter. Going for my endowment was like syllabus day. “Here’s what we’re going to cover for the rest of eternity and these are the course expectations. If you’re interested, come back again so we can dive into the good stuff.”
For months before my endowment, people kept telling me to focus on how I felt. LadyMo feelings hardly ever translate well into real words, so I offer you the best I have. I felt power, love, and a sound mind. I felt a complete absence of fear or anxiety or cortisol or adrenaline. I felt like my heart and mind had been wiped clean, in a baby fresh wipes kind of way. Not the “obliviate” kind.
Ha, if my reflections on the temple can only be best expressed using Harry Potter spells and baby wipes, I think it’s better if I just keep my mouth shut.
So much love,