Monday, October 19, 2009

The Temple and Squeaky Shoes

I went to the temple again for the first time in awhile. It's funny to think that, at one point, I went every week, craving the peace and tranquility, the feeling of home. Now attendance is painful. I don't really feel a part of anything there any more, and what I do feel causes me to cry, which I hate doing. But I went because I knew I needed to, and because I had promised my mother I would.

I walked through the doors feeling like I did not belong. As I went through the foyer, I felt all eyes on me. My shoes, the only black dress shoes I own, squeak loudly when I walk, a fact that wasn't nearly so noticeable when I was walking outside. I wondered if they saw me as the interloper I felt, with my squeaky shoes announcing my presence with every step. I never liked those shoes particularly, but for a moment they became the symbol of all that has gone wrong in my life, of all that has labeled me a failure, and I hated them. I kept walking anyways.

Because scheduling is pretty tight, and because I didn't know if I could endure an endowment session just then, I participated in initiatory. I did fairly well at first, but by the second name I could no longer help myself, and tears rolled down my cheeks. One kind ordinance worker also teared up. I'm sure she thought I was moved by the Spirit, but I wasn't. I was moved by self-pity. I hated myself for that, too, wishing and praying that my feelings were different than they were.

Midway through the third name, a new worker came in. She had never done this particular ordinance, and she stumbled over nearly every phrase. I smiled at her, and nodded reassuringly, glad to have something to think about besides my own inadequacies. Her trainer said, "She is just learning." I crumbled as the Spirit electrified that message in my heart. I realized that I am just learning, too. I'm new to my particular position in life, and I am just learning how to do it, making mistakes, feeling inadequate.

As I walked out of the temple in my squeaky shoes, I realized that they didn't matter. Perhaps others were looking at me, wondering why I wore such noisy shoes, wondering if I even belonged in the temple at all. Maybe I don't really belong there. In the Atonement of Christ, it doesn't matter. I am just learning.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I am sorry for not writing more often. I would try to excuse myself by claiming to have a great deal on my plate right now, but the truth is that it's not really time (though short) keeping me from writing, any more than it is my new daughter keeping me on the bench in Fast Sunday's testimony meeting.

Even now, I begin to write and find myself stalling. I don't know any more what I ought to write, what I should and should not do or say or think. I knew I could never post the things I have just written, so I deleted them. But I'm posting this much because I know that many amazing people read my posts here, and I want to let them . . . to let you know that I'm okay. I'm in a rough spot, confused and lonely, but I'll get through it.

Keep praying for me, please. I'll keep praying for all of you, that I can think of something worthwhile to share.

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