What I discovered last week is that becoming extraordinary is the product of being in the presence of the Holy Ghost and angels. Let me tell you of some of these manifestations.
- The first evening at my brother's house we went to the Salt Lake Temple to do marriage sealings for our deceased ancestors. We had a large stack and not enough living proxies to complete the work. I watched as the temple workers gathered strangers into our project to help us. The temple sealer worked for us until his voice faltered. We felt the outpouring of strength from beyond the earthly veil. We sealed husbands to wives, daughters and sons to parents and I felt joy coming from above. We had to stop before the work was completed.
Artwork by Annie Henrie
2. The next morning my sister-in-law rallied me to go back to the temple to finish. Just two of us now, we needed even more strangers to complete this task. There is a "can-do" spirit there that is remarkable. As we left the temple I looked up at the work my father did on the annex to the Salt Lake Temple. He was not a member of my church when he was alive. He was by many standards ordinary, but in truth, he was amazingly blessed with foresight, insight and God given talent.
3. Later that night I met a family from Germany, visiting to meet their American cousins. These cousins shared the deceased family members for which we labored in the temple. They knew nothing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They came because of the love they felt from my brother's family when he visited them in Germany. So impressed were they by his kindness that they made a lovely book for my brother featuring pictures of his visits to Germany. Truly they were speaking the language of connection.
4. The following day was filled with sight-seeing. My niece mentioned that the Ogden Temple was open to visitors before it's dedication to Godly service. I was asked to accompany them and see if there was a chance we could go through the building. We did not have tickets and we did not have a change of clothes more appropriate to entering a temple. We looked out of place in a sea of Sunday dressed families. As I approached the volunteer at the door I explained that I had non-member visitors from another country. He smiled very big and assured us that open house meant any one was welcome. What an opportunity! I could never have explained my beliefs about life after death or about vicarious work for the dead in a better place. I cannot be assured of what my cousins felt but I had an outpouring of love that assured me that I was accepted and that acceptance reached to every child of God.
5. Saturday was a family gathering of 54 people. I hustled around after my sister-in-law as she fed what felt like the 5000. Benedikt, the youngest of the German family, asked everyone if they were a Titze. At home he only knew a few people with that surname. Here it was almost everyone's last name or maiden name. Again, I felt the outpouring of divine love and energy. I had a desire to see everyone there. Really see them and connect with them.
We stayed until the stars claimed the sky. No one wanted to leave without reaffirming their commitment to family.
6. Sunday came with an early opportunity to go to Temple Square to participate in a live broadcast of The Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I literally sat still with the grandeur of their magnificence. Here were hundreds of voices trained to sing with one goal. That goal was to carry the Holy Spirit to every ear and heart. After the broadcast was over they thanked us for coming. What? We had been invited, free of charge, to spend a Sabbath morning with a volunteer choir and they were thanking us? I have become a renewed fan of this choir. I went through a period of feeling unimpressed with them due to a lack of interest. They have, after all, been around 100 years. I got used to their ever present service. But, there is nothing like a close-up performance.
After the choir broadcast we walked across the street. I began to feel the culmination of these extraordinary days creep into my conscious. When Alexander and I walked in front of the Salt Lake Temple I realized how much more context his family had because they actually entered into a Mormon Temple. They could visualize the holy room representing the kingdom of God. They had walked the white carpets of a new temple. They had also fully participated in the open arms of family. If they did not feel the arms of the family long ago passed away, I did. Everything came together for me.
I wept openly when I departed from them all. I was surprised by my emotion. I know the full meaning of my visit started and ended with the Savior of Mankind. His open arms make it possible for me to open my arms to those I love and even those I know only as strangers. He is Alpha and Omega.
I love and honor Him.
So, to come full circle, is my life ordinary? Yes it is. But, it is also extraordinary because of the blindingly, beautiful light of Jesus Christ. "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, or of good report" I acknowledge they come from Him and I seek after these things.