approx read: 8 mins
The day was June 12th 2004. My cell phone alarm went off at about 7am. I sat up to see my wife hurrying around gathering clothes and makeup stuffs. She looked excited whatever she was doing. She said something to me, but it translated in my head as a deep rumbling. I think I smiled in response. As conciseness started to take hold I realized that my back hurt. That seemed impossible because I had a Tempur-pedic mattress, you know the one NASA designed, and I have never experienced back pains sleeping on it. I looked at the bed I was on. It was not tempur-pedic, it wasn't even fabric, it was vinyl. Then I remembered! I woke up! We were in Oregon on vacation... kind of. The actual purpose of our visit was that Lara and I were to be sealed in the Temple today. We had to leave in an hour to make it to the Temple at our allotted time. I laid back on the Aero bed we had inflated in Lara's step dads office, I sighed, and said, "are you going to shower first or do you want me to?" there was no answer, and I fell asleep.
Violent shaking had rattled me from my slumber. I opened my eyes, and my beautiful wife was standing over me wrapped in a towel, she was saying something, she looked mad. Her words just sounded like a deep grumble. I think I smiled in response. I noticed I was experiencing some back pain. That seemed impossible because I had a Tempur-pedic mattress, the material was designed by NASA, and I-- Oh crap, I thought, I had to leave for the Temple in 20 minutes! Realizing what had happened, I sprung out of bed and scurried over to the shower. The house we were staying in was alive because Lara's Step Dad had not only put us up, but 5 of our friends from Utah, and Lara's Grandmother, Aunt, and Sister. Everyone was getting ready. I took a quick shower, and shaved with the nearest razor I could find... I'd never shaved with a Venus before, and half way through, I wished my razor wasn't sitting back in Salt Lake.
I hustled around getting dressed and preparing for the day ahead. My wife began scolding me for sleeping in, and pointed out the many tasks I could have done were I awake when I was supposed to be. I tried to explain to her that I had experienced something similar to a hangover due to the 1000 balloons I had helped to blow up the evening earlier for our pseudo wedding reception, "Sealing Celebration", to be held later today. She dismissed my excuse because of the air compressor we had there, but she didn't realize that I single handedly blew up 200 + balloons to save on time. You should try it sometime, I guarantee you'll experience some pretty mean hangover-type discomfort. It was 8am, I was all ready to go. Not surprising however, my wife was not. Lucky for me I have learned a technique that helps in situations like this. No, I don't shamefully just tell her she looks beautiful, and that the crimping and care she is taking on her appearance isn't necessary... even though that's true. Experience has taught me that not only does that not work, but it makes things worse. Instead, when I'm asked "what time do we need to leave" I always reply with a time 15 minutes earlier than the actual. This allows for her to think she's late when in actuality she is not. Today was a perfect example of that principle in action. We left the house in a rush at 8:15 right on schedule.
On the 40 minute drive to the Temple. (Hey this ain't Utah folks) Lara began to inform me of the cost of this little endeavor. The cost of traveling here, 800 miles to Portland, to be sealed in the Temple, when we could have done it in the Salt Lake Temple a mere 1/3 of a mile away. The cost of our reception (we chose to call it a "celebration" because we didn't want people bringing gifts, or thinking our motivation was gifts.) which we didn't really need, as receptions generally aren't held for post marriage sealings. Furthermore, we already had a reception a year and a half ago when we were married. While she further described the cost of the DJ, the food, the decorations, and the photographer. I began to wonder why on earth we chose to do this. Even with the donations of family our portion of the bill was far more than we could afford, yet we were doing it anyway.
Then I remembered the reason why, Lara's family. Also, I can't lie, I love the Portland Temple. Of the worlds 120 + Mormon Temples, it has always been my favorite. I lived in Portland the year they built it. I was 10, and my dad took me to the construction site one day. We got there, and there on a truck all six of the spires soon to be on the Temple, lay on the back of an 18 wheeler. My dad lifted me up, and I touched the very tip of all of the spires... I even hung from one. Since then I have always pointed to the top, and said "I touched the tip of those spires". That however wouldn't be reason enough for the reception and its coinciding costs. No, the main purpose was for Lara. We got married here in Utah, and couldn't afford to do a double reception (Portland and Salt Lake) so we just did one. In an effort to remain morally clean (yes that means no sex before marriage) we rushed our wedding, and we were only engaged a month. The adverse affect this had was that Lara's family didn't have time to travel out here for the occasion. (Though most have admitted they wouldn't have made it anyway) The fact that Lara's family missed her wedding has always kind of bothered her. She didn't get to spend the "best day of her life" with those she cared about most. (except me of course) So once our sealing became more of a reality we started talking about a reception, and cake and a photographer, all the things we missed for our Utah wedding. Lara wanted her family to be there, all together. Something which hadn't happened in ages. I agreed it was a great idea, and on came the expenses.
We pulled up to the Temple, and my mind was racing. Money, bills, work, was all that was going through my head as we walked through the doors of the Temple. Once inside things got better. It's so quiet, peaceful, everyone is wearing white and all communication is whispering. It was amazing how quickly my mind felt at ease and my thoughts changed from "life sucks! I'm gonna be poor forever" to "I'm here to be joined to the woman I love, FOREVER!" Once I was in a place that focused wholly on things Eternal, life's troubles seemed pretty trivial.
The ceremony was simple. Lara and I knelt at an alter. Directly across from one another, we held hands looking at each other. I couldn't help but realize what a beautiful woman I had married. I got really excited, all of the sudden it was like I could see us together in the future, content, peaceful, fulfilled. When the "Sealer" pronounced us sealed as man and wife for time and all eternity, it was a phenomenal experience. I can't really transpose the feelings into words. Needless to say I was pleased with the whole experience. We left the temple, and met our photographer. We took Pictures all around the Temple grounds. It was a little taxing, and I pity every man who has to endure this task in the future. Getting photographed on your wedding day, is about as fun as taking your wife shopping, except your forced to smile. After pictures we all headed to the Stake Center for some food. Sandwiches, meatballs, and assorted fruits were there for the taking. The 1000 white balloons made it seem almost fairytale like. Lara and I indulged in some of the activity's we missed with our civil marriage... like cutting the cake, and the toast. Everything was very fun. As the celebration came to a close the DJ was playing "Glory of love" by Chicago. I took my wife by the hand, and we began dancing. As the song went on, we began to hear a balloon pop, then another, then another. Suddenly it was as if machine gun fire had surrounded us to commemorate our union. People were running around with the sharpest object they could find, and in the spirit of competition, trying to out pop more balloons then their fellow guests. It made for a pretty cool final dance. And then... it was over.
After returning home to Utah, everyone that I saw said, "Wow, John you have this glow about you." At first it was all people that knew that I had gone and got sealed... so I dismissed it as idle congrats. Then it happened at work, a Lady who had no idea told me that I was glowing, and asked what had happened. As I regaled her with the self same tale I just told you I realized that perhaps I really was glowing. After all, it's nice to know that you love someone, and it's nice to know that some one loves you... but how incredibly nice it is to know that someone loves you enough, and you love them enough to kneel before God and make a commitment to be joined together for Eternity. After all, eternity is a long time. If that doesn't make a person glow... I doubt much will.
As far as our perpetual financial peril. I've realized it seems to be a common feeling among my generation that they should move out of their parent’s house and have a life like their parents have. Which is obviously flawed thinking since most of our parents had to work for years for their current lifestyle. It is preposterous for us think we can have the same financial security without working and sacrificing for it like everybody else. So I think Lara and I are doing just fine.
Thanks for reading.