When I was a kid growing up I wanted two things more than anything else in the entire world. More than any Nintendo game, more than peacefully watching a Chicago Bulls game with a 6# bag of gummy worms, yes, even more than my own body weight in my mom’s Spaghetti with a pound of parmesan cheese on it, the things I desired above all else were facial hair and a Motorcycle. As a child I was too weak in spirit to follow the commandment “Thou shalt not covet” and I found myself coveting all men (and occasional women) with facial hair and coveting every motorcycle I saw or heard. I made it a goal to one day achieve them both. As a boy I was powerless to “hasten the work” of puberty and I was forced to sit and wait for that euphoric day when I would have the opportunity to pick up a razor and with it, shave the few patchy hairs emerging from my face in glorious triumph and victory! Then, for added emphasis leave the hairs in the sink only to boastfully claim them when someone yelled “Gross, who shaved and left it in the sink?!” Sure, you may be the worst blog post you have yet to read, but I swear there is a point to this, just stay with me.
Years later the day did come and I likely felt more joy than any other human on the face of the earth has ever felt while shaving. Since that day and still to this day I have avoided shaving at all costs to enjoy the pleasures of the beard I now have that I waited so long to receive. As for my motorcycle the day I purchased it was one of the happiest days of my life. As I stood at my house staring in awe at my Motorcycle (while bearded in fact) it was as if I had achieved the greatest achievement in the history of achieving achievements. It was like the feeling you get when as Mario you jump over Bowser while dodging his hatchets and free Princess Peach for the first time X 1,000,000. It was incredible!
The reason that day was one of the greatest days of my life was because I finally had two things that I truly desired with all my heart. The wait, the work, the desire had finally paid off and I was now able to enjoy them both to their full extent. It’s also important to note that I was able to achieve these things on my own. I was in no way constricted or stopped (other than my Mom, Wife, Grandma, and everyone who’s ever known me telling me how bad of an idea a motorcycle was) or did I have to wait for others to help me. I could reach these achievements as quickly as I was personally capable of. Again, I didn’t have to rely on anyone else.
Not relying on anyone else is a complete contrast to Temple work for the dead! The Holy Ghost, the Priesthood, and being sealed to loved ones for time and all eternity are incredible gifts worth far more than any sum of money or any material possessions could possible even come close to! Those gifts are infinitely better, cooler, and more important than the latest Honda CBR motorcycle and trump the awesomeness of even Hagrid’s beard. There are countless souls who have gone on before us who above all else desire nothing more than these sacred and holy ordinances to be performed in their behalf! However, unlike me they are completely and totally helpless to help themselves! It’s like having an itch that ranks higher than any other itch ever recorded on the “itch richter scale” yet you have to wait for someone else to scratch it! They rely 100% on us! I see this as a tremendous responsibility and that we have much work to do! Linked to that tremendous responsibility however is also tremendous opportunity and blessings! When I think about how truly amazing it is that we get to act as a proxy for past friends, family, and even strangers in their behalf to partake of the eternal blessings they could not, or chose not to partake of in mortal life which they now so desperately desire… I just shake my head in amazement. I don’t think I fully understand the blessings that come from doing Temple work. I know the diseased are blessed with these amazing gifts as we perform their work, but I can’t help but feel as if we are at least equally blessed for facilitating the process. I try to imagine the joy, love, happiness, gratitude and appreciation they must feel at finally, after weeks, months, years, decades or even centuries being able to receive the Holy Ghost, the Priesthood, or to be reunited with their loved ones again! I try to imagine the reunion that takes place when Husband and Wife see each other again! How about the overwhelming joy in the embrace from a daughter or son given and received by their parents after so many years! We through Temple work have the opportunity to bring about so much happiness and joy and gratitude by literally bringing entire families, and generations of family together again! This to me is an eternal service with an eternal rippling effect. If you haven’t already made it a point to make Temple work a part of your life I would invite you to make that change or work toward that change now. You will not regret it!