Visiting the Oakland Temple


When you are a nanny for a 17 month old, you have plenty of time to think. Conversation isn’t exactly stimulating…

Me: “Hey bud, are you ready to go for a drive?”

Eli: (silence)

Me: “Let’s check your diaper first ok?”

Eli: (still nothing)

Me: “Oh my goodness, you are poopy again!”

Eli: (Little chuckle)

That’s pretty much how my day goes. It’s a little different from talking to yourself…but not much.

So in my moment of reverie, today I learned something about myself. I learned that I want to get married.
Now before you freak out at me for stating what is probably obvious if you know me at all or have even read much of my blog, let me explain.

Today, Eli and I are exploring Oakland Ca. Sitting high on the hilltop overlooking the city is this beautiful structure.  It is an LDS temple,  one of 139 functioning temples spread all over the world. Eli loved the fountains, and running up and down the long sidewalks that bordered the stream. On the roof of the temple is a garden. It’s so beautiful that it really does take you back to old movies depicting heaven or the Garden of Eden. Flowers whose fragrance is so sweet that the warm air carries it to you before you have even leave the stairwell, bloom in perfectly manicured beds. Hydrangea, Cannas, and other flowering bushes and trees are in abundance. A lone gardener in a plain blue uniform is sitting next to one of them meticulously inspecting the bright red flowers growing there.

With nothing but the sound of the wind rushing through the palm trees and Eli’s occasional squeal at something that he has found, I spent most of the afternoon wandering the grounds of the temple.

That’s pretty typical of a day on the road with Eli, we wake up usually at about 8 have breakfast in the hotel by nine and then go swimming, shopping, exploring museums, or whatever else I can find to do until about noon when, after eating lunch, most of which gets left on the table, Eli falls asleep. I sit in the hotel while he sleeps and work on homework, watch tv, or spend way to much time playing angry birds.

In the afternoon when he wakes up we usually look for a park or a garden to go play in until its time for his mother to get off work.

A typical day for me when I am home goes something like this…

I get up around 8. Run some errands, do some scrapbooking, work on homework or go to school depending on the day. Then in the afternoon I go to work where I get to work with boys in a secure facility. I help them with home work, music, or whatever else happens to be going on that afternoon. We have a lot of fun together. Then I go home and check facebook to see what events I’ve got going on that night and plan my evening.

I promise there is a point in telling you all of this. Today after Eli and I finished walking around the temple gardens we went to the visitor’s center. Most of the time I find some of the little video’s that they show in places like that to be a little cheesy. Today I must have been feeling differently because some of the things that they said, literally brought me to tears.

If you have never been to a temple visitor’s center inside the have a number of different displays that explain various things about what we as Mormons believe. One of the displays was a series of rooms that all tell a story. As you enter each room the light comes on and a video starts to play. In the first room there are just a bunch of red rocks and the video starts showing a family hiking along a trail (probably in southern Utah.) One of the children ventures too close to the edge of a cliff and falls. He is saved by a ledge just a few feet down and everyone goes home smiling.

Later that night, the father is sitting on the front porch deep is thought as he listens to his children playing and wrestling inside. His wife comes and talks to him and they discuss how glad they are that their family is all together and that an accident had been averted that day. They talk about remembering what is really important. They talk about how our Heavenly Father put us in families so that we wouldn’t be alone, so that we would belong, and so that we would be happy.

The scene moves on and you watch as babies are born, grandparents die, and other important or not so important events bring this family together. You watch them playing and making memories, you watch them fighting and forgiving, but what really stuck out to me for some reason is that I watched them be together and for the first time I realized that I want a family.

I have always known that I wanted children. But I thought of them as babies, I didn’t think of my children as companions, as grown up teenagers or young adults. I always wanted a husband and knew that, that would erase the loneliness that I feel as a single person, but I never thought of the whole thing together.

A family.

A group of people who you live your life for and with. They are the people you sit around the table with for dinner each night, the people you go camping and hiking with in the summer, the people you fight with sometimes, worry about, celebrate with and enjoy beautiful gardens with. They are the people you build lasting memories and lasting relationships with.

That’s when I realized what I was missing in my life. I realized that I don’t just want to get married so that I can have cute little babies to hold and cuddle, I don’t want to just get married so that I don’t feel stuck and left behind in a life that I can’t control, I don’t just want to get married to have a husband and a companion to love. I want to get married because family is God’s way of bringing happiness into our lives.

I saw those people on the video sharing all those moments and I felt the contrast to my own life. Suddenly I desperately wanted to have that. I know that I will one day. I know that this time is perfect for me. That I have exactly what I need right now. I know that I have family. In fact I have more family than I hardly know what to do with. It’s just that with all of that. I find myself living alone. Coming home at night to an empty house, sharing the beautiful things I see and experience with a child who can’t even speak and who isn’t mine. Worrying about burying my dad and taking care of my mom without anyone by my side. It’s lonely and it’s hard. But wow! Do I have something to look forward to! So here are a couple of challenges to any who happen to have read through my ramblings.

1.) If you live near a temple, Go. See the Our heavenly father’s plan for families display and see if you can leave without crying!

2.) If you have children, or a spouse, or siblings or anything that represents family for you…imagine your life without anyone of them and be grateful that God’s plan included making them a part of your life.

and 3.) Spend some time alone and see what ah-ha moments you have.

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One thought on “Visiting the Oakland Temple

  1. A says:

    Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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