Yesterday was such a blessing. When I heard a week ago that a spontaneous temple trip was developing within my local Relief Society, I felt really impressed that I needed to go. There were so many reasons to not go. For one, my week is so full and busy that Saturday is my only day for any rest whatsoever. In fact, the last few Saturdays I have found that staying in bed for most of the day has been really necessary to give me energy and motivation to get to church and through the next week. Last Saturday in fact, I got up and did some things and in the late morning I sat down on the bed... and fell asleep for almost four hours! I must have needed it. :) Another reason is that Saturday is the only day that I get a lot of time to spend with Bug and get everything done and prepared for the coming week. The idea of not seeing Bug was extremely painful. But the idea took hold and I immediately called and booked myself a seat in one of the cars for the trip. The next week passed pretty much uneventfully with only slight problems with anxiety about it until yesterday morning.
And what a day! I wasn't sure when I started out why I felt prompted to come. And with everything going on in my life a trip to the temple frankly seemed a little foolish. When I left yesterday, I had pretty much decided that I was going to the temple to do something for myself and because I thought I should. But this has turned out to be a day to remember. The five hour drive down to Boston was spent with some other members that I didn't know terribly well and I feel a lot more comfortable with them now. I feel like I know them better now and I feel a little less shy. When I got to the temple, a small group of people asked if we would help with photos and so I enjoyed some talk and banter while taking photos for them. When I went into the temple and presented my recommend, I found that I was lucky enough to be able to join a group from Connecticut who were performing baptisms. (I don't know how it is for some members in larger areas, but to do baptisms in the temple in Boston, you must have a group, several priesthood leaders and an appointment... which usually must be made at least eight months in advance. So I was aware of the real possibility that I might arrive at the temple and spend the full time in the visitor's room or walking around the outer grounds... it has happened before.) But I was whisked into the baptistry and given clothing and joined the tail end of the group. My mind was already a bit full with my thoughts and I found a line from a song constantly playing over and over in my mind as I sat and waited to do confirmations. I tried to focus on the list of women in my hand; what were they like, were they happy I was there, would they accept the work and was I truly worthy to help them when my life feels like it is in tatters. But I found a feeling of comfort and peace as I performed the ordinances and a feeling that suggested that my life is about to begin anew... and I have a fresh start. I felt impressed that this time in my life is my opportunity to take the time to do some things that I have wanted and needed to do and haven't been able to accomplish in my life so far.
I was able to do two sessions with two different groups – one from Lincoln, Maine. I felt so blessed and was treated like a valued guest by the Lincoln group and I didn't feel awkward joining at all. I also attended a spontaneous talk and testimony meeting in the temple set up by my branch president and his wife. I should technically have missed it by attending the second session, but as I walked out to head upstairs I found that a member was just walking into the baptistry to get me to make sure I was able to attend... another blessing of the day. There were so many blessings that I received today. I received a few small promptings and thoughts that I really needed. I found some peace and some moments that I felt simply fine and calm... I didn't feel like I was dealing with the problems that I am or that my trials are so large. For a brief moment of time, I simply felt peaceful and enjoyed the ability and opportunity to provide service for someone else. I can't express how grateful I am that I came today. My cup is very full and I am almost sorry to leave and head back to the life I know I must continue to live and grow in.
One aspect of yesterday that I enjoyed was that I found a few of the names and individuals on my cards stick with me throughout the day. And so I arrived home, tired but well, and ready for bed. But before I tuck in, I thought I would take some time to research and present to you the two women whose names have stayed in my mind and who seemed to reach out to touch me today. I am grateful that I helped many more than these two, but as these women have stayed in my mind, I will take a few moments to try and discover a few pieces of their lives to know for myself and to share with you. I am thankful for the opportunities that they gave me today.
Clara Elizabeth Collins was born on July 23, 1890 in North Carolina. Her parents were Joseph Collins and Ann Rebecca Gupton and she was one of ten children... born in her parents later years. She had six older brothers and one older sister and when she was old enough, she fell in love and married Augustus Adolphus Drake. She lived with him until his death and bore him four children: three girls and a boy. She passed away on April 30th, 1978 in Nashville, North Carolina. She would have come to adulthood around the time of World War I.... lived through the Great Depression and the second World War, and having to deal with and understand the racial divisions that were slowly trying to unravel in the south.
Anne de Fayolle was born in 1532 in Francia. She was born the year of the union of the land of France and Brittany... lands that are still unified today. Born in the aftermath of the Hundred Years War, she would have grown up learning and living in a culture consciously separating itself as a nation and as a people from England. The House of Valois was in power and she would have lived during the reigns of Henry II and Francis II. This time was a period of change and she would not have failed to have noticed and even have been affected by it. The Medieval period of time was ending and people in general were questioning the Catholic church and monarchy in general. During the reign of Henry II, the Protestant religion became an important it minor religion... important enough that as the strength of the monarchy declined the last decades of her life and after would be filled with violence between the Catholic church and other Protestant groups.
I didn't find much, and I truly wish I had found more. I feel like I only got a small taste of what these women might be like, but its time to go to church so I should head off. Happy Sabbath. :)