Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with a friend of mine, and I was able to share with her some of my feelings about the temple:
I began a new job about a week ago, and it has made me reflect on many things about the life that I have.
At my previous job, which I had for over a year, I worked with MAYBE 5 people who weren't LDS (I'm in Rexburg, remember?) I got that job 2 months after Evan and I had been married. We were married in Utah, lived there for 3 weeks, then came to Idaho. All of the friends that we have made are from our ward, or from my work. Thus, I have pretty much only been surrounded by active Latter Day Saints.
My manager at my new job is not active, and has not been for over 10 years. She is in her late 20's, will celebrate her 7th wedding anniversary this year, and has 2 children. She is my trainer, so I have not worked 1 shift without her, and needless to say, we have plenty of time to talk :]
Now, we have talked about many things, most of which are insignificant. I cannot think of all of the small things that we have talked about that have given me this feeling, so I hope that perhaps you can draw from previous experience and understand what I am saying. As I talked with this woman, I realized how different our lives are. Hearing her talk about her friendships, her marriage, her activities with friends, the discussions she has with people that she knows, I mean EVERY aspect of her life that I have heard her talk about is just...different than mine. It made me feel sad for her. and it made me realize that the thing that I think makes us so different is: the temple. The temple has completely changed my life. up until this point, everyone around me was pretty much in the same boat. I didnt have anyone to really compare differences with. But now, it is incredible to see how the temple has effected my outlook and thoughts and the way I relate to those around me. It keeps a certain peace in my home, and keeps my mind in a much more eternal mindset. I think about my interactions with people differently. I am more aware of those who are in need. By attending regularly, I have slowly but surely increased my knowledge of gospel things.
I know that there is no way I could think of the words to completely explain the overwhelming feeling I got after a few days at my new job. I came home one night and cried as I prayed. I was just so overwhelmingly thankful for everything that I have, and for the knowledge that I have received and the testimony that I have had the opportunity to build.
She was explaining to me once her reasoning for not paying tithing. Surprisingly, after she was done I actually could see her point of why she didn't. And then I wished I could make her understand MY point of view as easily as she had made me understand hers. I wish I could just give my surety to her so she could know the happiness that I know, the happiness that I ONLY know from attending the temple regularly. I honestly can't explain how huge of an impact it has had on my life. I never even realized myself until I saw the differences between my life and someone who doesn't have the blessings of the temple. But now it is almost tangible.
I cannot give this gift of knowledge to anyone, but I wish I could. I know that the best thing I can do is try my best to be an example to those around me, in hopes that they might have a desire to attend the temple and partake of its incredible blessings. It is the most wonderful place on this earth. My heart hurts for those people who only treat it as a place to get married but then don't return. I remember imagining that when I was finally able to enter, that I'd get an overwhelming feeling of "this is IT!" But, I didn't. NOT that it wasn't beautiful, or incredible. But when I'd hear my YW leaders talk about it, I imagined that the love they had in their voice would be automatic when I finally went through. But its not that easy. Just like everything else in the gospel, it takes patience and endurance. my understanding of the blessings of the temple have come through attending the temple extremely often and regularly, and with a desire to learn more when I went. My love and understanding has come through my faith that the temple is where I am supposed to be each week, and that it IS worth my time, and that it WILL make a difference in mind and Evan's lives. It is such a beautiful place. It is truly the house of the Lord. It gives me strength and peace and reassurance. I pray with all my heart that those who have the opportunity to attend will attend regularly, and never stop. The temple has completely changed who I am in a way that nothing else ever could have, and I am so thankful for it!