This evening, as I was scrolling through lds.org, I saw a link to the video of the youth of Eastern Europe at the dedication of the Kyiv, Ukraine temple. I clicked on it, curious to see the dedication, thinking also of a recent conversation I had with a friend, B. B. served his mission in Ukraine, and is one of those amazing guys who just has so much love for his mission. I swear, every other thought in his head is of returning to the Ukraine, and it just makes me smile. I love that he loves it so much. So I thought I’d check out the video.
While watching it, I couldn’t help but think of my own temple that will be built in Hartford, Connecticut. I find it hard to express how much I anticipate this temple: there is not an hour that passes that I do not think of it. What it will look like, how glorious it will be inside, what hymns we will sing at its dedication, how special and sweet the Spirit will be there. I cannot wait to do work within its walls, and already have a great love for our temple in Hartford.
When it was announced that a temple was to be built in Hartford at the last conference, I was in shock. I was sitting beside my roommate, H., when it was announced that Indianapolis, Indiana would be having a temple built. H. is from southern Indiana, and I was so happy for her. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I heard, “Hartford, Connecticut” announced. I thought I was hearing things. I was in shock.
I burst into tears right there in the chapel. I was weeping so much, laughing out of sheer joy, I must have looked a mess. A cute RM just off his mission in Taiwan was sitting with us, and looked like he had no idea what to do with me. We’d never met before, it had just so happened that there was room for his sister and he in our pew. Still in awkward-RM mode, he looked torn between shying away from a weeping young woman and wanting to pat me on the shoulder. But I was crying to hard to do anything about it. Honestly, I am glad I took notes, because I don’t remember much of the rest of the session. Several pages of those notes are filled with ink splotches, for the ink of my pen bled when tears hit the page. I think I hiccuped well into Elder Claudio R. M. Costa’s talk.
This temple is so long-awaited for my stake – and much of New England. Over eighteen years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that a temple would be built in Hartford. After three years with no news, it was announced that the Manhattan and Boston temples would be built in it’s stead. I have several ideas about this that I might express later, but needless to say, we were a little crushed. At that time, members in New England were traveling to the Washington, DC temple to do work. Quite the long haul, over 10 hours.
Don’t get me wrong, both Boston and DC have an extremely special place in our hearts. Everything we hold dear is tied to those temples: sealings, marriages, endowments, ordinances for the dead. But there is such overwhelming joy that we will have a temple in our home. There is so much anticipation in New England right now.
To tie all this back to the temple in Kyiv… I was watching the video and got to thinking about how excited I am for the temple to be built in Hartford. I feel at times that my heart will burst with the excitement that comes along with thinking of the coming blessings of the temple. It is so hard for me to convey! I have several photographs of the Boston and Washington, DC temples on my desk here at school, and every time I see them, I can’t help but smile and say a silent prayer to Heavenly Father at my personal gratitude for our temple. For my temple.
My roommates laugh, because they know when they see that big smile I’m thinking of the temple. I asked my RA one day how long it generally took for temples to be built. Without skipping a beat, she replied, “Well, the Salt Lake City temple took fourty years…” Apparently the expression I had on my face was akin to the sorrow of Job. They like to remind me of that often.
It seems as though every other entry I write into my journal these days is about the temple – my posterity will know when they read them a hundred years hence that I love the temple with all my heart. I think one of the things I am most excited for is the spires. I can wait to see Moroni shining brilliantly against the sky. I know that Hartford will be small, but I just can’t wait to see her spires.
“I think there is no place in the world where I feel closer to the Lord than in one of His holy temples.”
– President Thomas S. Monson