My Happy Place

The world likes to say that the happiest place on earth is Disneyland, but I beg to differ. There have been two times in my life that I struggled with my testimony, so much so that I was willing to throw in the towel. I became disillusioned with the church for multiple reasons. We moved to Syracuse, Utah right before we graduated high school. At that time, despite having great leaders, I would make up any excuse not to go to church. When we moved, I saw it as my chance to stop going to church and purposely found a job I worked on Sunday, much to my parent’s chagrin. No matter what they said, I had a counterargument. I had also been called as a young single adult representative in our ward. I did not wish to continue serving in that calling and told my father to tell the bishop to release me. My parents told me that if I wanted to do that, I would need to speak to the bishop myself.

A little back story on my bishop, that played a pivotal role in my life. When we first moved out there, I was still in young women’s, and his wife was my Laurel teacher, and even with us just moving out there, she and the other laurel teacher made me a temple envelope with my name on it. The fact that we had just moved out there and they took the time to include me meant a lot.

During my meeting with the bishop, I gave him all the reasons why I no longer wanted to serve in that calling, and he had even better reasons why I should keep serving. We were going in circles, and I became defensive and used the blame game tactic. This went on for a bit, and then rather abruptly, he became quiet, and you could cut the tension with a knife. He then told me that if I did not quit my job, I would regret the decisions I would make. I left his office mad and confused. I went home and told my parents, who were thrilled but did a great job of not showing it.

I was able to go to church the following Sunday. I can’t remember what the hymn was, but I do remember that it talked about the Sabbath, and I knew I needed to quit my job. With the very little faith I had at 18, I quit that job without having a new one. I have always been grateful to that bishop who could get through to me when my parents could not.

Five years ago, I was struggling with my faith again and leaning heavily on my husband’s testimony. This was when I met Ginger Johnson. She had a contagious smile, and her outlook on life was incredible. She understood the Atonement in ways that I never even considered. I will never forget her testimony of the Atonement. It helped me realize that no matter my trials, big or small, the Savior understood them better than anyone in this life. To understand the power behind her testimony, you need to know that she was battling stage four breast cancer for the second time and was going through a nasty divorce. Despite all that she had going on in her life, she remained positive and faithful. I genuinely believe the Lord sent her to my ward because He knew she would help grow my testimony.

One thing that Ginger always said to me was to go to the temple because it was her happy place. I still wasn’t going when I met her because of my fears. She would remind me that the temple is not only her happy place but a place that can help with those fears. We remained close even after she moved out of our ward. She was thrilled when I told her my goal and rooted me on.

Two weeks before she passed, I sent her a Marco polo telling her I understood why she called the temple her happy place. I bared my testimony, and her reply was sweet and powerful.

When Ginger died, I was devasted. Her impact on my life in such a short amount of time helped me in so many ways. She was also a dear friend, so her passing was painful. I knew she had left behind three beautiful children she fought tooth and nail to stay alive for. I also knew that as hard as it was that she was out of pain, and the Lord needed her elsewhere. 

I knew I needed to go to the temple to help with the grief. This was to be my 32nd visit and was on May 28, 2019. My heart was heavy that day, but knowing Ginger loved the temple and found so much joy and happiness there. I wanted to honor her memory. My time in the temple that day was beautiful. I knew that despite her death, she was happy and no longer in pain. As the session ended and I walked up to the veil, I noticed that one of the male temple workers was the same bishop who was instrumental in my life when I was 18.

Another interesting thing is that his dear wife had passed away from cancer nearly ten or so years prior, and she fought until the bitter end, just like Ginger. When I saw him, I realized that even though his wife had lost her battle with cancer, he was still at the temple serving the Lord.

It would be easy to have a pity party when life is hard and when we lose someone dear to us. But seeing him was a reminder that service helps heal wounds that sometimes feel insurmountable. I later found out that this man, my old bishop, typically does not serve in the temple on Tuesdays but was subbing for someone else. It is no coincidence that two people who impacted my life that would help me back on the covenant path would intersect in the temple that day. The Lord is in the details of our lives.

When life feels extra heavy, and I need a spiritual boost, I go to my happy place, the happiest place on earth, the temple!

1 thought on “My Happy Place”

  1. So beautiful Mel!! God is in the details of our life! We are never alone. He sends us angels to help us on our path! ❤️

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