Monday, December 30, 2013

You're Late

I wrote this story in 2008, the Twin Falls Temple had just recently been dedicated and I was so excited about having our very own temple that I found myself trying to attend a session whenever time would allow.
This day my plans were not going as I had hoped, hence, "Your Late:"

 I have always loved the story, “Alice in Wonderland.”  I especially love the white rabbit who was always running by muttering, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date; no time to say hello goodbye I’m late I’m Late I’m Late.
Each time he would run by Alice she would try and stop him to ask for his help but she would always get the same response, “I’m late.”   Looking at that with a gospel perspective how sad would that be.

Another story I have loved was the story of the Good Samaritan.  A man had been beaten on his way home from the temple and left for dead at the side of the road. A Levite and a Priest passed on by him on the other side of the road.  I wonder if they had the same attitude of the white rabbit, “I’m late, I’m late.”  Then a Samaritan came and took the time to dress his wounds and get him settled into a room until he healed.  The Samaritan reminded me of another story which involved one of our former Prophets; I believe it was Joseph F Smith.  President Smith had a dream in which he was standing in front of this beautiful gate and he was in his street attire and in need of a shower.  Under his arm he had his satchel which contained his clean clothes and so he turned and went and cleaned himself up and then represented himself at the gate.  Brother Joseph Smith was there and stated, “You’re late brother.”  President Smith simply stated, “Yes brother Joseph I am late, but I am clean.”  I loved that simple yet profound statement, I am clean.

August 25th of 2008 we had our dedicated Temple opened so that we could start our work.  I have been so excited.  I had promised Heavenly Father that I would attend once a week and so I decided that Friday would be my “temple day.”  One Friday came along and at my job I found myself dealing with three beggars in need.  Glancing at my watch I figured that I would have time to assist them and still make it to my session.  I could hear my watching ticking as time continued to coast by.  When I finally got them settled I took off for the temple.  Knowing that I did not have time to change, I simply pulled my skirt over my work Capri’s and hoped that my blue work shirt would not clash awfully with my skirt.  I then grabbed my bag and sandals and still attired in my white tennie runners I found my self running to the entrance of our Father’s house.  I pulled those doors open and hurriedly approached the front desk.  Looking back I must have been a sight.  The gentleman looked at me and simply asked it I had an appointment.  I was still trying to catch my breath and managed to get out a squeaky, “Yes, 3:30.”  He then boomed, “You’re to Late.”  I know my face fell and I found myself wanting to explain why I was late and if he only knew all that I had been through just to get there.  For a brief moment I felt as if I was standing at the Celestial gates and the guardian there in a voice of thunder proclaimed, “You’re to Late.”  Words cannot describe the emotions running through my mind.  I was not even like Brother Joseph who could proudly proclaim, “Yes, I am late but I am clean.”  Due to the simple fact that I was still half clothed in my street attire.  This attendant must have seen the disappointment on my face because he then stated, “you can go to Initiatory.”  I was so relieved.  At least I could serve somewhere in my Father’s House.  Once again it felt as if I was standing at the gates of the Celestial Kingdom and the attendant took pity on me and let me go in as a servant.  A servant was better than no admission at all, I was taking it.  But first I had to change into my sandals.  I did not feel comfortable going into my Father’s house in tennis shoes. 

Once I had my shoes changed I entered His holy house.  Then I felt as if I was a disobedient child who had stayed out past curfew and was trying to sneak back into the house undetected.  I had my tennis shoes hidden behind my back as I tried to sneak into Initiatory passing by familiar faces.  I just knew Heavenly Father was going to “catch me in the act.”  I finally made it to Initiatory and a lovely sister was there to greet me.  Ridden with guilt at how I was attired, I briefly shared with her what I had been through in just trying to get there to serve.  I then pulled up my skirt and explained that I was still technically in my work clothes.  She just gave me a brilliant smile and told me that at least I had come.

What a relief to get my secret out.  Needless to say the session was beautiful.  I wanted to ask each attendant, “Can you hear them singing?”  The Spirit was beautiful.  As I pondered the event of the day it was reaffirmed to me that our Heavenly Father looks upon our hearts desires not the outward appearance and my heart was so full of love and gratitude for that great blessing.  After I had finished my work for that day; I went into the dressing room and put all my street clothes including my white tennie runners into my bag and then put on my Sunday best.  As I emerged from the dressing room my head was high.  Though I had come in looking as an orphan, I was leaving as a beloved daughter of my Heavenly Father.  As I passed the attendant, I simply smiled and the words ran through my mind, “Yes, I was late, but I am clean.”                      

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