Well, after that excruciating long drive today, you'd think I'd have zonked out as soon as I got to Bowler. But I'm still up, and it's 2:21 AM. I have so much on my mind, and I know I won't put down here the majority of it, but, I'm going to just let it flow, and not worry about structure or whether or not it makes sense.
First of all, a few pictures. I was saddened that I wasn't able to go into the Brigham Young home today, but I was able to take a few pictures of the outside. Click on the links below to view them:
Photo 1 of Brigham Young Home
Photo 2 of Brigham Young Home
Photo 3 of Brigham Young Home
There was a special spirit there, even from the outside. I took a walk around the yard, took a few pictures of the blooming trees, and mainly just spent a few minutes reflecting. I had just had a very spiritual afternoon in the temple, and that spirit carried with me as I spent a few minutes there in the very place our 2nd prophet lived. I am so grateful I have had the opportunities to visit these homes in Nauvoo over my lifetime, to visit Palmyra, and to visit Salt Lake. I hope someday I might be able to go to Jerusalem and visit the places where Jesus walked. I hope I get the opportunity in my lifetime.
This was the first temple sealing that I have ever attended. I have to say that now, after experiencing one, I cannot fathom why anyone would want any other kind of wedding. It was the most beautiful, simple, elegant, and spiritual wedding I have ever attended. The sealing room was beautiful, in its simple yet elegant way. But the greatest part was the spirit in the room. April and Doug were so beautiful themselves. To see the joy on their faces as they knelt across from each other, and later looked into the reflecting mirrors, a symbol of eternity -- to see the tears streaming down both of their faces, and the happiness in their eyes, knowing that their union is an eternal one...to see April, after being sealed to her husband, get up and give him a big hug, and start sobbing...well, as the patron told us, the veil is very thin in the temple. The spirit is very strong. I watched those two, and tears sprang to my eyes. I know I will do the same thing someday; I will be sobbing in the arms of my husband, sobbing tears of joy and gratitude and love.
I am so thankful that I was invited to participate in such a sacred and special experience. I felt true joy for both of them. I am grateful that I knew I was worthy to enter that temple, and to partake of the rich spirit and peace that resides there. To be inside the Lord's house is such a remarkable experience. Sitting there, being witness to such a beautiful experience, my gratitude for the Atonement, and the joy that comes from repentance, was overflowing. I knew that I, like the other women in the room, was a pure, clean, worthy daughter of God.
I am grateful for my experiences. I am even grateful for my sins. I have learned so much, and I have truly begun to learn the true value of the Atonement. As I sat there, I recognized the hand of the Lord in everything that I have gone through up to this point; yes, even in my display of my weaknesses and succombing to temptations. I am humbly grateful for the learning experiences that come from such, and for the Lord's loving hand that continually guides me, and picks me up when I stumble or fall.
I feel like I speak so much about myself here, but I have to remember this is my journal, after all. I suppose most of it will be about me. It's my opportunity to reflect. This is who I am; and as I go back and read through my thoughts and experiences, I see such a change of heart; of spirit; of focus, and of strength. I know I will stumble and fall many times in my life, but to see the difference between the woman I was even two months ago and the woman I am today is truly humbling. If I hadn't made the mistakes that I did, I wouldn't be here today, knowing what I know, and being who I am.
But...as much as part of me wished I was in April's place today, I know that for her it was right. For her and Doug, the time was today. I, however much I desire being a wife and mother, am willing to wait. I would wait the rest of my life if it meant waiting for the right person. Waiting is no longer an issue for me, because I have finally grasped the reality of what we are talking about here; eternity. My children deserve the father they have been promised, and to be born into the family that they need to become the people that God intends them to be. If I cannot give them that, because of impatience, or a wrong move somewhere along the lines...well, I won't do that. Because of this, I will, and I want, to wait, and to grow from the rich experiences that are to still come my way during my single life, and serving the Lord in any capacity the he asks.
The Lord is good to me. He has blessed me with so much. He has provided such miracles to me in the past few weeks; and new paths and understandings have opened up before me that I never knew before. I can harness my spirituality in a new way, and am better able to see things from an eternal perspective, but at the same time enjoy the beauty of the journey -- to stop and smell those flowers, or to hear the birds sing. To spend an hour just basking in the light of the temple. To look out upon the fields as drive along that long highway. To see the beautiful sunset, in all its majestic beauty, rich in vibrant hues of purples and reds. To look into the faces of my family and see love and familiarity, and bonds that I hope someday will be eternal.
I believe in miracles. I believe in the Lord's promises. Those haven't changed; and while I am not sure exactly what to make of it, one thing I do know...my capacity to love grows more and more each day, as I gain a sense of the love my Savior has for me. I love even more fully and more freely now than I did in the past. My love is stronger and fuller and richer; not bitter, not conditional, and not passive. Yes, it's a choice I have made, but I made that choice because the Lord has told me that I am to continue to love despite the pain it has brought to my life. I know that the presence of love is so much more powerful than the absence of it; and it truly encourages me to live through life instead of just passing by. It teaches me to be selfless instead of selfish; and it encourages such a power within me that would otherwise lie dormant. To love is truly better than to be loved...the ability to truly love someone from the inside out doesn't come from conditional love, but from that true, eternal love that exists because someone wills it to exist rather than waiting for it to happen.
On a final note, here is a photo of me, my brother and my sister when we were young. I loved this photo growing up, because I remember my sister during that photo shoot with my Uncle Mike (yes, he's a professional photographer, too!). Even at that age, my sister was such a ham for the camera! My brother and I absolutely adored her, and thought she was the cutest thing in the world. Well, she was.