Utah ended 2011 with the warmest & driest December on record. We’ve nearly gotten used to wearing nothing more than a light jacket when we go out. Even our bicycles were (until yesterday) sitting in front of the shovels in our garage. So, when a decent sized snowstorm hit Saturday morning, we were more than a little bit surprised! It also happened to be very ironic timing, since any other Saturday we could have simply curled up cozily under the covers and listened to the snow plows rumble by. But, this particular Saturday we were up by 5:30 am preparing to leave for the Bountiful LDS Temple to attend a special early morning session with fellow ward congregation members as part of “Stake Conference” weekend. There are nine wards in our stake. Naturally, our ward was given the earliest assignment.
Thankfully, Bountiful City is very good about clearing the roads quickly and efficiently during snow storms. They particularly focus on keeping the two main roads up the hill to the temple as clear as possible, ever mindful of the busy temple traffic. (and with the Ogden LDS Temple closed for reconstruction, traffic has increased exponentially) So, we didn’t have to worry about being unable to make it up the mountain in our car. The fog and snowfall just added a little more drama and mystery to our temple “trek” (a ridiculously short 10 min. drive up the hill which I am always a bit embarrassed to admit to all my readers out there who regularly travel far distances and make immense sacrifices to get to your nearest temple – please bear with me).
“Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure.” – Thomas S. Monson, The Holy Temple – A Beacon
When we turned into the main parking lot, the view that we beheld was stunning - not because of what we could see, but because of what we couldn’t see! Due to the heavy fog from the storm the temple was obscured at the end of the driveway.
I love the symbolic simplicity of the photo I very unprofessionally captured leaning out of my car window. It is a striking reminder that we must stay on course as we make our way toward the temple. And, even if the end is not in sight, trust in the straight and narrow path to take us there, and have faith that the priceless temple blessings are waiting for us and are worth every effort!
“Each temple is symbolic of our faith in God and an evidence of our faith in life after death. The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church…Ordinances of the temple are absolutely crucial. We cannot return to God’s glory without them.” – Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple
As we drove closer, I thought of the story of Lehi’s dream, and how important it is to hold to the “iron rod” as we pass ”through the fog” of life.
I couldn’t get over how beautiful and calm the temple appeared in the middle of the storm.
Just like the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the temple dedicated to His name stands strong and firm, with arms outstretched figuratively beckoning to ”Come [In], all Ye who are Weary, and Ye shall find Rest”. The visual image of our journey to the temple on this cold winter morning, combined with the feelings of utter peace, warmth and safety upon entering God’s Holy House was a priceless experience all of its own! And, the joy and blessings of actually attending the temple had not even “officially” begun! Just goes to show, there can be just as many important blessings in the journey, as there are in the destination.
”The world can be a challenging and difficult place in which to live. We are often surrounded by that which would drag us down. As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we will be more able to bear every trial and to overcome each temptation. In this sacred sanctuary we will find peace; we will be renewed and fortified.” – Thomas S. Monson
P.S. Random Bonus Blessing: Remember the giant gaping hole in our front yard with the 6 feet of left-over tree stump from last month’s big wind storm damage? Yep – It is now conveniently blanketed in snow! Hooray!