I spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning fasting and praying for the country I love. I've been very discouraged by horrible things that have been happening with seemingly increasing frequency, and prayer sometimes is the only way I can feel peace.
I prayed hearts will be softened, eyes will be opened and rifts may be healed; that we, as human beings, might recognize things we can do to make the world better instead of making wounds hurt worse.
After concluding my fast Sunday afternoon, which means I went without food for about 20 hours, I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the dedication of the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Fort Collins Temple. Earlier this year, I was able to accompany my mom when she went to the temple for the first time ever, then I was able to attend the temple wedding of my niece, my dear sweet husband took me to see the new temple in Fort Collins before it opened and later joined me inside for the public open house, and now, I've been able to attend open house and dedication for the newest temple (until the Star Valley Temple in Wyoming is dedicated at the end of this month).
I attended my first temple public open house way back before I adopted my son. I had to get special permission to take him and his birth sister out of state to see the Bountiful Temple in Utah. The experience was a thrill for me because it was my first, but it also was so wonderful to be able to show that beautiful building to two little children and be able to answer all their questions. Neither of these kids, now grown with children of their own, go to church anymore, but I hope they will always have fond memories of that trip.
In 1993, I got to make a wonderfully warm winter trip from the snowy, windy mountains of Colorado to bright and beautiful San Diego, where my son and I met my brother and his young family, including the very same niece who got married earlier this year, for the public open house of the temple that still remains my favorite after all these years. I've been back to San Diego two times now to go through that gorgeous building again.
About a year before both my adopted son and adopted daughter took permanent unauthorized field trips (they ran away), we attended the dedication of the Palmyra Temple together without leaving Colorado. The Palmyra Temple dedication was the first satellite broadcast of such a ceremony. My adopted daughter, who also does not go to church anymore, did not accept the invitation to attend the open house of the Fort Collins Temple with me this summer, but she told me she remembers the dedication we attended together, and she said it still makes her feel good to think about it. (I don't have pictures of the Palmyra Temple. Yet.)
I didn't get to go to another temple public open house until after I married The Lizard. He is not a member of my faith, but he is supportive of me in everything I do at and for my church. Whenever we have missionaries over for dinner, inevitably they end up asking him if he wants to take me to the temple one day. And he very cheerfully replies that he took me to the Newport Beach Temple. Because he did! I'd had emergency back surgery the winter before, and I could not yet drive long distances. He drove me to California so we could visit my parents and attend the public open house of the Newport Beach Temple. It was his first.
My memory may be getting crusty with age now, but it seems to me we had guided tours for every temple public open house until Fort Collins. There, we were allowed to wander through at our own pace, quietly absorbing the beauty and feeling of each room, with me answering questions or pointing out things instead of a volunteer. I just can't explain the closeness I felt to my husband being there with him in that setting. There are no words.
He drove me to the dedication of the Fort Collins Temple and picked me up when it was done. He eagerly listened to me as I bubbled with enthusiasm about the service on the way home.
Although each of the dedication speakers mentioned how important it is to forgive and to love our fellow man (and women), Dieter Uchtdorf, presiding and delivering the keynote address before dedicating the temple, voiced the very same words I'd been sending heavenward during my own special fast. His words are so applicable to what we are going through right now.
What a joy and privilege it was to dedicate the Fort Collins Colorado Temple today. Every temple provides us with spiritual experiences. pic.twitter.com/nUYYB2MCiX— Dieter F. Uchtdorf (@UchtdorfDF) October 16, 2016
President Uchtdorf said we must be "humbly bold". Humbly bold. What an incredible concept! He said "humbly bold" has no arrogance. It has no judgment. "Humbly bold" has only love for our brothers and sisters. We must speak out, but we must do so in a way that does not alienate or offend.
Even if we differ in opinions and/or beliefs, we must treat each other with courtesy and respect. That is the only way to heal this country and unite us as the brothers and sisters we truly are, regardless of our differences.
How perfect to hear such an uplifting message right when my heart was so torn by current events. President Uchtdorf's words were music to my soul and balm to my broken heart. I wish everyone could feel the calm and peace that enveloped my core that day.
This is one of the reasons we have temples. Inside the temple, we feel peace, and we feel closer to our Father in Heaven. It gives us something to strive for outside the temple, in our homes, in our communities, and in our world.
I cannot fix the world, but I can certainly try to make my little corner of it the best it can be.