What makes a bad day for us and how can we “make” a good one? Friday this week was a difficult one for me. We have been given permission to take the day off when the temple isn’t busy. Since there was very little on the schedule, I decided that I would attend a couple of sessions as a patron to help accomplish some of the family proxy work that is waiting for me. However, when I arrived, one of the shift leaders begged me to put on my jacket and serve as a worker because a bus had arrived late the night before and the 7 AM session was completely full. He only needed me for that one session, he said. Well………of course after that it was still very busy so I ended up working the shift and not getting anything done on my family file names, complaining the whole time to myself that I hated not having any control over my life, etc. etc. It is always true that having unmet expectations is a guaranteed way to wreck the start of the day, and it is tough to recover from that in a way that feels like it was well spent.
During my morning run the next day, I was pondering how to make it a better day. We expected many patrons and a long shift, so I had to be more creative than the day before. Frankly, living here is difficult. We have been here a long time. It is easy to feel trapped. I started counting the time left. Then the inspiration came to me that eventually we would be working in the temple here for the last day. Eventually we would be looking back. So what if I tried to do this day how I would want to do the last day here - a pseudo last day?
That helped immensely. I was able to see and experience things that were probably there the day before but that I couldn’t see, because of my lamentation of what I couldn’t do. One of my favorite things during the day was the privilege of giving the prayer in the endowment session. To me this is one of the highlights of working in the temple. Everything else is scripted, and it is important to play well your part, but in that short 2-3 minute group prayer there is an opportunity and challenge to try to capture the gratitude and needs of the group and express it to deity.
Just five minutes before I was to lead the prayer, a storm broke. There are high windows in the room and the light had been dim when we entered. We heard the whooshing of the wind, the heavy rain on the glass, and the rumble of thunder. I thought, “How wonderful to be warm and dry, safe and protected within these strong walls. And then the thought came to me that I should express gratitude in the prayer for the covenants made in the temple which keep us safe and protected from the storms of life. Not from all trials and sorrows, but certainly from the unnecessary ones that we bring upon ourselves when we don’t keep those covenants.
We went for a group shopping experience after work was done. Saturday there is usually less traffic so it is a good time to replenish the larder. We had heard about a new “American” store and were able to drive there with GPS help. Unfortunately it was closed and then we had to make our way back to other better known grocery stores. The traffic was bad, and normally this would feel very frustrating, but we saw part of town that was new to some of us, passed many funerals (big events here), and eventually accomplished the mission and made it to a nice restaurant for dinner.
After arriving back home we stumbled across a new BYUTV movie, “Instrument of War”, which was very well done (a true story) and had a powerful message about how love and music can make us resilient in the face of war and captivity and despair. It was a sweet ending to a good day, and one that I would have felt good about being our last day here.