Great Expectations!

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TheDiscipleMD

It was a big disappointment! I don’t know what I was expecting but I was… underwhelmed, if that is a word! It was game four of the 1999 World Series. The Yankees won the game 4 to 1 and along with it their 25th world title. It was the last professional baseball game of the twentieth century. I was sitting in the stands watching it all, and being a New York Yankee fan my entire life, I should have been ecstatic! It wasn’t the game that was such a disappointment; it was “legendary” Yankee Stadium, the “house that Ruth built”. It was the first and only time I actually visited it. I don’t know what I expected. Perhaps I thought I would feel “electricity” start flowing through my veins as soon as my ticket was punched and I entered into the “hallowed” grounds where Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle had played. My boyhood idols, Bobby Richardson and Bobby Murcer left their legacy on these base paths. For crying out load, Don Mattingly had spent his entire illustrious career there guarding first base. Yet, I wasn’t impressed. The stadium seemed so old and rundown. The seats were tight as well as the isles. The men’s rest-room was small and dingy and felt unclean. I felt like I was fighting for air as I was pressed like a grape among the human mass that moved about the cramped walkways. I guess I had heard so much about Yankee Stadium over my lifetime, that I expected something else. But, I really don’t know what “something else” really was. My one and only visit to Yankee Stadium just…wasn’t! It’s since been torn down.

Perhaps you have had similar experiences in life. Maybe you have heard of famous places and then when you visit them you wonder what the fuss has all been about. I wonder if seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France would give me a thrill? I have been with people who are visiting the Washington D.C. area for the first time and I rarely hear them “Ooh” and “Ah” over the Washington Monument. But they do like telling others that they have been there. I like telling people I attended a game at the “old” Yankee Stadium. It makes for good conversation. But the build up can often overshadow the actual thing.

For some, this has been the same when visiting the temple for the first time. Visions of spectacular supernatural manifestations have danced in their heads and when they don’t occur, they feel that they are unworthy, or leave disappointed. I once had a conversation with a member who expressed his concern that he had never had a “grand” spiritual experience while visiting the temple. He felt jealous of others that told of “visions” and other “out of this world experiences” they had while in the temple. I could tell that he felt disappointed in his temple attendance. I recall my own wedding. Somehow I thought that getting married in the temple meant that some “magic dust” was being applied to me and my bride. I distinctly remember walking out the temple doors that day and thinking, “I don’t feel any different”. I don’t know what I thought was going to happen by being married in the temple, but I quickly found out, within days, that being married there didn’t automatically put both of us on the same wavelength when it came to life’s daily decisions.  A miracle had not happened overnight! My marriage was not perfected the day I came out of the temple doors. I learned that the miracle of a great marriage would take time and effort. But…I had walked into, and out of the right doors; the best doors to use when you desire to partner with God in “working” for a miracle.

Miracles can happen within the walls of the temple and do for some. But more often than not, they are dedicated buildings of God, where imperfect people, like you and I, go to become closer to divinity and learn how to “work”  our way towards exaltation through the mercy of the Lord.  If you understand that, you will never leave its holy grounds disappointed in your visit, or feeling bad about who you are. Finding “peace” within its walls can be, in and of itself,  a miracle! I testify that “peace” will always be ours,  if we worthily visit the house of the Lord.

When we visit the temple, let us not allow our expectations to run towards things “supernatural”; rather let us enjoy the wonderful opportunities we have to experience the permeating spirit of the Lord that dwells there. In so doing we will discover that things “supernal” have a far more lasting and permanent influence for good in our lives.

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