I had the opportunity to head home recently for a long 4-day weekend, and while home, I was blessed to be able to attend the temple and go to a special stake conference with Elder D. Todd Christofferson. On Saturday, I woke early to prepare to travel to the Boston temple. Part of it was that it was a surprise for the young women in my ward – they didn’t know I was home, let alone that I would be doing baptisms and confirmations in the temple with them!
It was so great to be with my home-ward. No matter where my records are, Cromwell is most definitely home for me. We’ve become quite the large ward, but we’re still very close all the same, especially the ‘old’ families who have been there since I before I even joined the ward (we’ll peg that as coming up on nearly a decade very soon). It was particularly special for me as I’m very close to a couple of those girls – I consider them my little sisters (despite the several inches they all have on me!). For two of them, I’ve been their youth counselor at Girls Camp for three years running. For the third, I’ve watched her grow up alongside my little sister, and had the opportunity to work with her as a counselor at Camp this past summer. It’s been an amazing experience to watch these beautiful young women come into their own the past few years. Scary, to see how much they’ve grown in my 7 months of absence, but absolutely amazing nonetheless. So needless to say, it was very special for me to be able to travel to Boston and attend our temple with them!
Don’t worry, I won’t neglect the two young men who came as well! One was the younger brother of one of ‘my girls’, M. It was cool to be able to get to know W. better. It was also pretty great to see one of my favorite guys in the ward, M. again. I just got word that he’s been accepted to Brigham Young University in Hawaii, and am totally pumped for him!! I tease him a bit about how we’ll shun him a little because he’ll come home to New England ridiculously tan, while all of us main-landers will still be pale as snow. He’s the younger son in a family that I’ve come to truly love and admire, and I’ve realized he’s like my little [taller] brother. We tease one another tirelessly, but it’s all in good fun! I can’t wait to see him go off to school, despite how much I wanted him to apply to Southern Virginia, I know he’ll be heading off to the exactly where he needs to be, be it Hawaii or Provo, and that I won’t have to worry about him. Much, anyway, with all those girls out there! ;)
I mentioned that I had no photographs of the Boston temple, and everyone was insistant that we take at least a few nice photos. I think they’d agree, as grand and beautiful as the Washington, DC temple is, it just isn’t Boston. The angles were a little restricted, considering the ridiculous amount of snow on the ground that impeded me from circling and snapping photos, so I generally took to the sky. M. & W.’s dad noted that it looked like Moroni was swaying, which really messed with my dislike of heights, but nevertheless, I got some nice photos I think.
I feel really blessed that I was able to attend the temple this past weekend. Generally, I don’t receive any startling revelations till well after I’ve gone home and written in my journal, but I really needed that break from the world. Just the sense of calm and love and peacefulness. I enjoyed the ride home as well, spending 2 hours simply chatting with K. K. is a really awesome girl, she’s definitely become my little sister over the past couple years. It was a little scary to see how’s she’s grown – blossomed, really – but it’s pretty amazing at the same time. I loved just talking with her, listening as she told me about the little things. I liked that when she had a question, I was able to answer it. I loved being able to sing Praise to the Man with her in the little chapel. I have so much love for that girl!
Another cool thing was that one of the guys in my ward, a couple years older than me, returned from his mission in Long Beach, California. I’m pretty sure he flew into New England the same day I arrived via train. It was really good to see A. after over 2 years. He’s looking well – not as tired as a lot of returned missionaries look when they get home. All the RMs in my ward came home looking content, but so exhausted. It’s one of the biggest changes in your life, so it’s understandable. But A. looks really good, and it’s good to have him home. Can’t wait for the other missionaries in our stake to come home!
I feel like I’m repeating myself, but I have so much love for this little temple. I love that this temple in Boston is preparing us for our own temple in Hartford. We still have a lot of preparation to do, but we’re close. It’s coming. It’s tangible. You can feel it in the air when we come together. We’re all preparing ourselves, and striving to help others prepare, for the dedication. We can’t wait.
This last photograph is my absolute favorite out of all the ones of the temple itself I was fortunate enough to take. I printed it out and haven’t quite decided where I want to put it yet, but I know it’s going where I’ll see it often. It keeps me focused on what’s important, and reminds me of my testimony, and of the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us. Temples are one of the greatest manifestations of Love we have on this earth. Simply put, it makes me joyous. It reminds me of the hymn High On The Mountaintop (number five in our ‘little green bible’). Every time I see Moroni atop a temple, the first verse runs through my mind: “High on the mountaintop a banner is unfurled. Ye nations now look up; It waves to all the world. In Deseret’s sweet, peaceful land, On Zion’s mount behold it stand!”
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” – Isaiah 2:2-3
PS – Just a quick note about the Boston temple: when you are driving, it is hidden until the one moment when the angel Moroni atop the single spire of the temple appears suddenly, stunning in the sunshine like a beacon. No matter the weather, you can always see Moroni.