I went to the Temple today, just like I do on most Fridays. (My current job schedule does not include Fridays most of the time. Don't worry, I still put in well over 40 hours each week.) Today's session was a good experience, but I can't help feeling a bit wistful. I'm missing my boys. Oh, I'm happy that they are where they are and doing what they are doing. But I miss Temple Fridays with them.
We were thrilled when one of our sons accepted a mission call last spring. We were surprised that his mission wouldn't start until 4½ months later. In the meantime, he completed an extra semester at school. He also received a sacred Temple rite known as the endowment. Almost every Friday over the subsequent weeks until he entered the MTC, my son accompanied me to the Temple.
A short time before our son left on his mission, another son accepted a mission call. The timing was touch-and-go. But on the final Friday before our first missionary entered the MTC, his brother likewise received the Temple endowment ceremony. Almost every Friday since then this son has accompanied me (and often my wife) to worship in the Temple. We have attended a number of different Temples in the area.
My son and I got in three extra Temple Fridays because his call was changed 2½ weeks before he was to enter the MTC. Mission call packets include a blurb stating that the church may change the assigned location and/or duties at any time to meet needs and conditions. But it always seems surprising when this happens close to home. The new call extended our son's departure date three weeks. This was somewhat frustrating for our son. He was ready to get on with it. I empathized with him. But the silver lining in this extension was three more Temple Fridays together.
Temple worship is designed to be a particularly sacred experience. However, like all worship events, it can be also be experienced as dumb, boring, tedious, etc. It's really up to the individual worshiper. The Temple is designed to focus on the eternal nature of the family. For that reason it has been especially meaningful to me to have these worship experiences with my sons.
Given the way life plays out, I may never have an opportunity to enjoy weekly Temple worship with either of these sons in the future. Once they return home, the circumstances that allowed our timing and proximity to line up will probably not repeat themselves. Our sons will appropriately move on with life. Who knows if similar time and location coincidences will occur with my younger children?
Regardless of how the future works out, I will always cherish the months of weekly Temple worship that I enjoyed with my two older sons during the summer and autumn of 2012. I know that these experiences brought to each of us a glimpse of the kind of eternal joy that we hope will flow through our family relationships in the eternities.