As many of you know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has built a temple in the town where I live. They are currently having an open house where anyone can come and walk through the temple before it is dedicated. They ask for volunteers in the church to help serve as ushers; helping people know which way to go, serving refreshments, etc. Last Monday, September 3rd, they had 22,700 visitors! It is a really big deal, and we are loving every minute of the feeling here in our town.
Wade and I had the opportunity to serve as ushers a week or so ago. We got to be in the temple on the floor where the celestial room is. To see pictures of the temple, you can go here. We started out the day in the celestial room. Because we have to be there VERY early, we had the chance to be by ourselves in this beautiful room and ponder on a few things. It was so peaceful. As we sat there waiting on the visitors to arrive, the sun came up right into that room. The large stained glass window in that room faces east, so the sun was directly shining in that window. The effect was magnificent. I could do that every day for the rest of my life. Sit there like that.
Picture in the temple I was looking at.
Painting by Harry Anderson
But I want to tell you about what happened today. I had the opportunity to usher in the temple again. I again found myself on the floor with the celestial room. The sealing rooms are also on this floor. I was standing outside of the largest of three sealing rooms directing the visitors where to go. I had been standing there for about 45 minutes directing visitors and looking at this HUGE picture of the resurrected Christ that was directly across from me. When I turned around for a minute, I realized that the picture on the wall behind me was of Willard Peak. I knew it was there from the last time I ushered, but had forgotten. I looked at that picture, then turned around and looked at the one of Christ. It suddenly occurred to me that here I was, standing with my back to the place that had taken my daughter, and was facing the Man who had saved her. It was a very poignant and emotional moment for me. I am just glad that there weren’t any visitors there for a few minutes to witness my emotional thank you to the One who really did save my daughter. But I am also grateful that I was facing the right way, looking towards Christ.
I know I have mentioned before how amazing Laney’s friends are. Well, the last week was made easier because of them. On Monday, we got to spend much of the day with Jens. That was the best part of the whole day. That night, several of Laney’s friends came over and we talked about their favorite stories of her. It was a lot of fun to hear stories that were fun memories for them. I also learned some things that Laney probably wouldn’t have liked me knowing.
One of Laney’s friends spearheaded having a tree planted in her name at the ballpark where she spent so much time. She got it all donated by people in the community who loved Laney, too. It meant the world to us to have them plant a tree in her honor. This post is to thank those of you, especially Kelli, for making this happen. We love you guys!
Photo courtesy of Kelly Duke
One year. That is how long it has been since we lost our daughter. My little girl. My young adult daughter just ready to move into the rest of her life. To say that this last year has been the hardest of my life is an understatement. How I have missed so many things about Laney. Nothing has been the same without her here. That is probably pretty obvious, but you have to understand that she was such a rock. Such a piece of the glue holding our family together. I miss her so incredibly much.
But this year has also been one of learning big lessons, feeling the love my Heavenly Father has for me and seeing the tender mercies poured out upon my family. I don’t think I will ever say that I am grateful for this trial. This experience. I know that all of the things we go through will be for our experience and for our good, but I am just not seeing it yet.
Laney’s friends painted the wall on the freeway
What I am grateful for are the people who have stepped into our lives in a greater role. Who have been there when we needed someone the most. Who have not left us alone to try and cope. If we just keep holding on, the light will come. I know that.
Oh, I know there is a plan for our lives. I just sometimes wish I could just see a little snippet of how it all plays out. Elder Quentin L. Cook has said that all of the wrongs and unfairness of life will be made right. Oh, how I long for the day when I can see that come about. Because, to be honest, this all seems a little unfair to me. But I will trust in the plan my Heavenly Father has for me as I wait for the light to come.