Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I spied it on Facebook; “This Wednesday, May 15th, we will have a Ward hike at Thunderbird Mountain. If there is any way that you can make it, please come. This will not be an ordinary hike. It will be an opportunity to witness something extraordinary. That is really all I can tell you at this time…” A strange excitement gripped me. Although the post was not really meant for me, I commented on it, and received a direct invitation, “You are invited, Sister Hoopes.”
The next afternoon, a sudden burst of realization gave me a clear understanding about the mysterious invitation and my heart leapt at the thought. Tears filled my eyes as I made a plan. Instantly, nothing could deter me, neither heat nor work would stand in my way. In my very dearest dreams, I had hoped to do this, now I smiled every time I thought of it.
The night before arrived, I was nearly giddy with anticipation. I recalled conversations with Robert, dreaming of this day and hoping we would be able to witness it together. As I dusted off my hiking shoes, I spied Robert’s battered straw hat and pulled it off the shelf. If Robert couldn’t be beside me, I would bring him along on the hike by wearing his hat.
Wednesday morning dawned warm, with a mild breeze. I gave silent thanks for the cooler temperature as we hiked the desert mountain trail. Almost a half-mile later we found a grouping of black volcanic rocks just off the trail, a perfect viewpoint, where we set up camp to await the event.
The super-heated rocks became our benches as we peered through cameras and binoculars, watching the activity around a large, white building a half a mile away. The temple is a sacred place where our eternities united and our hearts rejoice. This temple is being built, 'our' temple is further away. When this temple was announced, we happily made it 'ours' as well, hoping to work there side by side, once it was complete. Now I watched as tiny people moved around the bases of two huge construction cranes. The group chatted lightheartedly until at last the largest crane began to move, and we settled in to watch. Our hopes were soon dashed, as we realized the crane was simply moving a large piece of stone. With nervous sighs, we returned to our restless waiting as the crews below continued to work. Soon the enormous crane began to move again! Slowly, ever so slowly the object of our affections came into view amid our exclamations, “Oh look! See that bit of gold?” “Look, you can see the top!” until finally the entire figure appeared, a mighty angel, Moroni. It glinted in the sun like fine jewelry. The angel appeared to fly as it was carefully guided into place atop the spire.
A hot wind blew, Robert’s hat flapped on my head. I thought what this would have meant to him as I watched the angel settle into place; a gilded trumpet raised to the east, heralding the Savior’s return. My eyes filled with tears as I thought about that day, and the happy reunion that will take place. I wished Robert were with me, that we were holding hands as we always did. A gust of wind knocked his hat off of my head and kissed the tears on my cheeks. Even outside temple walls, there is sacred ground.
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