Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ninth Day: The Temple

"On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
nine ladies dancing."

The temple is a tangle of emotions for a great many people. I didn't used to understand the issues. My first experiences with the temple were beautiful in their simplicity. There were no surprises for me. I had been well prepared by my bishop and my roommate.

When I made the covenants surrounding the endowment, a world of peace and love was opened to me. Finally, I felt I was in a place I belonged.

The covenants of marriage were no less glorious. I made those covenants with determination and love. I dedicated my heart, mind, and soul to my husband. I was not a perfect wife by any means, but I gave everything I had to making the marriage work, to trying to bring happiness to my husband.

Then came the time when I realized that those very intentions conflicted. I could no longer keep all the covenants I made, but I had to choose between dedication and love to my husband and dedication and love to my God.

Since the day when I realized that no matter what I did, I would never have an eternal marriage with my spouse, the temple has lost its savor. Now, when I attend, it is with deep soul-searching, longing for understanding, pain for what I have lost.

The loss of that covenant has left a hole in me. It is a hole which has healed, but it has left scar tissue behind. And that scar tissue stretches and pulls at me most when I attend the temple.


When I broke my ankle, there was a long time of physical therapy. I remember a time of about a year when I could walk normally and without pain until it came time to exercise the broken joint. There had been scar tissue left behind which caused pain only when I pushed myself. But I continued to push myself, to stretch the scar tissue, to refuse to allow it to heal completely until it healed properly.

I have complete faith that so long as I continue to attend the temple and do the myriad other things which seem to have lost their efficacy to heal, so long as I push and stretch myself, so long as I refuse to allow myself complete healing until I can properly heal, I will be able to heal scarlessly some day.

The temple teaches me that. It shows me that there is hope for progression, that the Atonement of Christ can heal all wounds. Even though I may never escape the consequences for my divorce while in this life, and worst of all may not be able to shield my children from those consequences, there will be healing for all of us who accept it. Even my ex-husband. Even my children. Even me. And that is why I align the temple with the dancing ladies.

It is enough for now.

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