I love the variety of windows in temples. Having taken a stained glass class, I appreciate the intricate effort needed for these architectural additions, as colored glass is selected, shaped, and soldered together. My quarter-century of temple worship is like a stained glass window—various facets make a beautiful picture through a delicate, time-intensive process that enhances my life.
My academic background in biblical Hebrew leads me to see ancient temple connections. I think about Jesus in every symbol: water in the basin, bread on the table, light in the menorah, the olive-oil anointed one, the High Priest officiating, the veil through which we approach the Father, the Lamb being sacrificed. That is the center picture of my stained glass temple window, the Lamb of God glowing with light.
The window of my temple experience encompasses a lifespan from young bride to tired mother, to mother of a missionary and a bride. I find new insight each passing year as the colors and light play out differently against my life background. I love generational connections, which are the structured outlines of my window. As I attended the Salt Lake Temple with my daughter and my mother, my daughter wearing the dress my mom once sewed for me, wearing an apron her grandma sewed and carrying her great-grandmother’s envelope, I also thought of our ancestors who hauled granite to build it and carved its banisters, and then of my great-grandparents who were married there, then my in-laws, my siblings, myself: generations of angels, surrounding us in time and eternity. I confess to being a temple tourist when we travel and taking my kids one summer to do baptisms at all the Utah temples. Witnessing my teenage son baptize my daughters is joy and rejoicing indeed.
Here are some of my colored pieces: A night in July, when we finished the work for my grandfather’s eleven siblings. That evening, a rainbow over the Draper temple heralded our welcome, and when we left, fireworks in the valley below felt like a heavenly celebration. I visited their Nebraska cemetery, and as I found so many familiar names on the headstones, realized I’d done the temple work for the entire northwestern quadrant–I imagine a wonderful resurrection reunion. I felt the presence of heaven as proxy for a relative who lived through the Johnstown Flood as a young girl. She seemed scared of water—her name card kept getting lost during the baptismal process. I felt her fear again in the initiatory, and had scriptures about the Lord calming the water come to mind.
These bright rainbows and fireworks, peaceful water and headstones are in my window. There are faces of my family and ancestors. I have wept at the temple with personal grief and loss, darker pieces that give depth to my scene. It is framed in granite and light, in whispers and scriptures. I miss the temple so dearly in these Covid times, and look forward to the light shining through it into my life again.