When I came home from my mission, I immediately got a job teaching at the Senior MTC. Mostly I taught couple missionaries who had been called to go to Romania, but when there weren't Romanian missionaries to teach I taught word processing skills to couples called to serve in mission offices and every Saturday I taught a large group meeting about the temple.
Let me tell you, this was the best job I've ever had in my life because I was paid to go to the temple. Yes. You read that correctly. Part of the deal was to take all the senior couples who were scheduled for that class to a session in the Provo temple, and then meet back at the MTC where we would have our lesson. I was actually required to stop at the MTC before I went to the temple and clock in. I was dating Joel at the time, and he used to joke that I was participating in priestcraft.
Anyway, since it was my job to attend the temple, and I actually received compensation for such hard and difficult work as being spiritually edified, I went to the temple weekly (and sometimes more, if I went on my personal time) during that period of my life. It was wonderful.
Later, I transferred over to the main MTC as a Romanian teacher since there was always Romanian to be taught there. As a part of my transfer, I had to give up teaching my luxury temple class. Naturally, I tried to still go just as often, but that's when I first learned just how much life gets in the way of temple attendance. It's hard.
When Joel and I were first married, I'd say we went pretty often. After all, we really lived within walking distance. But then I got pregnant and sick with Bria and our attendance tapered off since there isn't much of an escape route when you're sitting in an endowment session and you have to throw up. Now.
Then there were the new baby months. Hard to leave her, but we still put forth a noble effort. I think we made it at least monthly. And then I was pregnant with Chloe and the cycle started all over again.
In Arizona, I actually went a few times a month, especially during the 20 month period that I served as Relief Society President. Joel didn't always go with me, but that was okay. I needed the strength and it was important. I continued with that pattern until I was pregnant with Sophia, but still managed to go once or twice during my pregnancy.
As you know, we moved up to Cedar City just 3 weeks after Sophia was born and that's when my life became truly insane. Three children, three jobs for me and three for Joel and maybe three hours a week to see each other. I am embarrassed to admit just how little we actually made it down to the St. George temple, especially because it was about the same time commitment as the Mesa temple was when we lived in Arizona. It just seems harder to drive down to St. George for some reason.
And now we're off to Michigan. Lovely Michigan where the closest temple is about an eight hour drive. And I feel horrible. For the last three years I've had a temple less than an hour away from me and I was even in St. George every Saturday to teach lessons, and yet I never took much advantage of it. When I think of the peace and comfort and blessings I have received in my life when I am attending regularly and often, I feel even more guilty. I am sure much of the insanity I have lived through in this last portion of my life could have been alleviated by simply taking the time to go to the temple each month.
Now I will not have the luxury of just running to the temple whenever I feel like it. I will not have the luxury of procrastinating a temple trip because I am too busy or because gas prices are too high. Attending the temple will take a huge amount of planning, time and money. Worse, it probably won't happen more than once or twice a year. We're trying to make up for lost time and go as much as we can in the 7 weeks we have before we move, but it doesn't change the past.
It's a hard lesson learned, and I write this so that maybe you don't have to learn it. If you are close enough to a temple to attend regularly, do it. No excuses, just go. You need it. I need it. We all need it.