Friday, December 24, 2010

Tough night...tough life

It was supposed to be glorious. My son, of everyone, was most excited for me to have my recommend.

So we made plans. Temple across the valley from our home where Scott's parents work in the baptistry. Joseph Smith's birthday, the Christmas season upon us. Done with school yesterday, fun shopping with son to buy him a new suit this morning, massage this afternoon, perfect ending to a pretty good day. My sister and her kids joining us for the adventure.

Then...there's the traffic of last minute shoppers and it's dark and i don't know where I'm going. The fog thickens as we climb elevation, the windshield either speckled with moisture or streaked from the wipers and impossible to see through. Finally, we arrive in one piece. And then...

I forgot to check the date on my son's recommend. It is his first recommend--he's not ever had to think about expiration dates. What 13-year-old does? And it was in my possession--he didn't even have it if he did know to think about checking the date.

It expired at the end of November.

And I have no one to blame but myself.

At least he looks amazing in his new clothes, clear down to his shoes. And I've already made an appointment for him for a new recommend on Sunday. (Got in trouble with the temple worker at the desk for using my cell phone to call the executive secretary.)


And then my tears start to fall, and fall, and don't stop. Why didn't the spirit remind me about the expiration date? It didn't even enter my head? Why don't I feel peaceful and calm now that I'm here? Isn't that how I'm supposed to feel at the temple? I should be able to handle this with grace. I'm stronger than this. It is totally my own fault--not the temple workers' for enforcing the rules. But why do I feel resentment toward them? Why do I just want to swear? Why do I hate that they smile as they explain to my son that they are sorry, but there are no exceptions? Why am I so uncomfortable here, like I don't belong here, like I'm not good enough.

And then...why me? It was supposed to be for family. Why did all this have to happen, with Scott not here to comfort me, the one to drive through the fog or the one to remember to check on the expiration date?

And now I lay here in my bed hours later.

And I continue to cry. Scott agreed to take the baby for the night so I can try to get some sleep for once. He is a good man, a good friend and dad. He treats me like he loves me, and I know he does. My pain becomes his pain, but that doesn't change who he is--doesn't change his ability to be something he's not and believe or feel things that he doesn't.



Carlos M. said...

Wow, I never knew recommends for teens expired. If I remember correctly, there was no separate interview when I went for baptisms for the dead as a teen. (Other than my sealing at age 7, that was the only reason I went in the temple before I got my endowments at age 19.) I would think the bishop would mention something about your son's recommend, esp. if he knew the visit was happening.

It was an honest mistake. HF knows this. It's not like that was the only thing you've had to deal with. You and your son are no less worthy cause his recommend expired. Worthiness never expires cause of a small plastic card.

Beck said...

I'm so sorry! I really dislike the inflexibility of it all.

It's like the other day I was doing baptisms with some friends that were from out of the country and had come particularly to Salt Lake to the temple and had brought their special family names to do baptisms. The SL temple was very rigid in only allowing them to do 5 names each. The baptisms went okay but by the time they got to the confirmations, the names had been shuffled with others and somebody else had been proxy for their special names. When they were found already done, this sister broke down in tears of devastation. I begged the temple recorder to allow us to do the confirmations again explaining the special nature of this first experience of performing temple ordinances and that they do not have a temple nearby. He just smiled and politely said "no, I can't". I protested "Why not? How many names have been done multiple times? What's the damage in doing it again?" To which I got a polite and reverent "I can't permit it".

I know this is off the subject a bit. I don't mean to go off on this, but it really bothered me how inflexible it all was... something that was supposed to be so special turned out sour.

I'm sure it can be said (and I said it to her) that her heart was in the right place, that HF understands etc. etc... but somehow it just came off wrong and I still feel upset about the rigidity of it all. What's the point?

Anyway, I am grateful to know that you tried and you'll try again, and hopefully it will be as wonderful as you want it to be.

May you feel the spirit and joy of the season. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours!

Clive Durham said...

Sarah, my heart aches for you. It is amazing how often we as a people fall back on the false comfort of obeying the letter of the law, when everything Christ teaches points us to living by the Spirit. Living by the letter of the law reinforces our imperfect and sinful nature--we can never measure up. In contrast, opening our hearts to the Spirit frees us to find unity with the divine and enables us through Christ's atonement to taste the joy of perfection. The problem is that it's so much easier for us to just do what we're told rather than take real responsibility for our lives and how we actually relate to God's children. Unfortunately, there is no place where this is more evident than in our temples.

Amy said...

Oh, honey, I'm sorry. I'm glad you can go to the temple again! Better luck next time.