One Day at the Temple


I wanted to make a celestial circle around the small spot of earth that was temporarily mine—to plant flowers and talk to my neighbors.

I kept hearing the words of the doctor. Looking kindly at the room full of elderly people, he had told us that if we thought there was nothing to get out of bed for, we were dying. If we were living, we needed to get up, feed our bodies, keep them clean, and exercise.

I was past eighty. I didn’t want to get out of bed. But it was Thursday, and I hadn’t yet fulfilled my weekly temple assignment. The evening news had been more distressing than usual. I was troubled about some family matters. My house and yard took what little physical strength I had. Helplessness, indecision, and my aging body frustrated me. Finally, I decided to leave this world for a few hours and go to another—the temple.

When I arrived at the temple, I sat for a while and quietly absorbed the feeling around me. The sister on my left was young and beautiful, with golden, shoulder-length hair. She smiled. The sister on my right seemed even older than I was. She smiled. I felt I was with friends.

Suddenly, I knew what had been depressing me. Satan is very real, and he is here on this earth to hurt and mislead everyone he can. It struck me with startling force that he would hurt even a little old lady, and that he had been hurting me.

But in this sheltered place, I felt peace and a closeness to the strangers beside me. I saw that the power of Christ is stronger than Satan. My uncertainties and the problems of growing old drained out of me. My mind grew quiet and confident. I knew I had agency. I knew I was capable of handling all the decisions I needed to make.

I sat up straighter and felt happy. My friends beside me also seemed to feel the surging spirit that filled the room. The Spirit testified that Heavenly Father lives. I knew then that the problems of life have purpose and help us choose right or wrong, good or evil, joy or sorrow. I knew that Jesus Christ lived on earth and is living now—and that through him I can be redeemed from my mistakes. I felt a power at that moment that would guide me and strengthen me to do what the Lord has planned for me to do.

I realized it was foolish of me to worry or fret during the few remaining years I have in mortality. I felt thankful for my home and confident that I could manage it. The Lord would help me make a celestial circle around the small spot of earth that is temporarily mine. My heart was filled with eagerness to begin a new life of hope and joy. I was filled with the desire to clean the house, trim the shrubs, plant some flowers, talk to the neighbors, and welcome any of my family who would come.

And my children do need me. All my grandchildren and all my great-grandchildren and their families need me. They need my well-being, my courage, my ability to be happy, and my love.

The temple session was closing. I silently gave thanks for the gift the Lord had given me that day. I promised to always keep in my heart the temple spirit I had felt. Outside, I paused in humble gratitude for flowers and budding trees. I remembered that my apricots were blooming at home and that my daffodils would be there to greet me like a banner of gold. My heart reached out in love for home, for family, for life itself, for everything. I quietly resolved to live the last years of my life in gratitude and to make them become a sweet memory in the forever of the future.

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Maryon Whittaker

Mary Noel Rigby is a member of the Pleasant View Third Ward, Provo Utah Sharon East Stake.