Sunday, October 30, 2011

Meeting Up

I didn't know much about the Nauvoo temple before this trip.  As I read about it, I wanted very much to do an endowment session.  At first it looked like only Kristen and Gavin would be in town in time to be there with us, but one by one, each couple arranged and adjusted their schedule (and made great sacrifice of sleep) to make it by 4:00.  Gavin's parents were also there and we met them for the first time.  Also, we were surprised and delighted to see our good friends Greg and Cathy Mecham.  Mikelle, Abbie, Seth, Brian and Marielle took care of all the grandchildren outside and we got to experience the beauty of an endowment session in the Nauvoo temple.  I loved the rooms with their exquisite murals, the spiral staircases, the polished woodwork.  I loved our small session--mostly just us.  I found myself looking around the room continually at my loved ones and just marveling that we were all here in Nauvoo in the temple together.
 After our session, we rejoined our families waiting outside.

And then hurried over to the Zion's Mercantile for a dinner of sandwiches, salads, lemonade and cookies.  Afterward, we went around the room and shared our memories and advice.  I can't remember very many of the gems of wisdom shared that night, but I remember Greg Mecham encouraging them to enjoy every stage and not miss the now because they're looking forward to something better in the future.  I liked that.  I've thought of it many times since then.  All the family had warm memories of Kristen.

It had been a long, happy day.  Time for bed.  All of our family stayed in a historical (if somewhat creepy) old house called the Daugherty Mansion.  Every family had a bedroom and there was a fully furnished kitchen, dining room and parlor.  Only the bathrooms left something to be desired.

Kristen and I got up early in the morning and took a walk to the river.  We were staying in a little town called Keokuk--about 15 minutes from Nauvoo and it was what you might call a "has been" town.  It might have been something in its day--but its day had passed.  We walked along the streets lined with dilapidated mansions and talked.  Once again, I experienced that bitter sweet feeling of something ending and something beginning.  Just like with Marlee, I was flooded with memories--little moments. I remembered the day a few years before when we walked down to the mailbox as we had every day and there finally, was the big envelope from Salt Lake--her mission call.  I'm not sure why but we both started running and we didn't stop til we got to the middle of the alfalfa field across the street.  We knelt down and she started to open it.  I remember the sun shining behind her and the beautiful day that it was.  She opened the letter and started to read, murmuring the words until she got to the one every perspective missionary wants to find--the one that identifies the adventure ahead.  For Kristen, it was "Finland".  

This morning felt similar--all sorts of unknown adventures ahead for Kristen.

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There are no joys to compare with family. The experiences and feeling associated with family run so deep. Little moments are filled with meaning. They are the people who know us best and who we know best and who will be forever. This blog is a collection of the experiences that we can remember--the ones that happen on earth. I think our associations began long before and maybe the best is yet to be. Brigham Young says that our mortal experience is dreary compared to what is to come. I'm glad I can't see ahead because my life is anything but dreary. These people are my light and my joy.

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