Last night after dinner with the Scout Master's business associates, we decided to drive over to the Mesa Temple to see the Christmas lights.
It was absolutely spectacular and my biggest regret was that I had decided to pack lightly and not bring my camera. Thank goodness for iPhones. I took pictures of the lights on the Temple grounds and sent them via text to Flowering Buttercup and Spell Girl and wished like crazy that the kids had been with us last night.
The Scout Master took several pictures, too, and posted a couple on Facebook.
And here's how I gained a testimony of the miracle of technology...
Have you ever seen those movies where people who have some connection to each other are in the same vicinity but they don't even know it? Because you're watching the movie, you have the advantage of knowing all the players and being able to see with a broader perspective what the characters in the movie can't see. I think about that all the time when I'm in a crowd. Sometimes obsessively. I always wonder if there's someone in the crowd who might share a mutual friend, or if I've just missed someone I know by a few moments.
Last night, as the Scout Master and I were walking around the Mesa Temple, I kept straining to look at faces. It was dark, so we couldn't make out anyone's face very well, but in a place like the Temple at Christmas, you're bound to run into someone, right? The Scout Master asked me who I was expecting to see, and I thought "Well, I have no idea, but no one would be expecting to run into us in Arizona either, and tonight they just might!" You never know when you're going to cross paths with someone.
And then the Scout Master took a beautiful picture of the Mesa Temple illuminated by all the Christmas lights and posted it on Facebook. A friend we had known briefly and casually in Atlanta saw the picture and immediately commented, "If you see Sister... please tell her hello for us!" I think the Scout Master would have been content to just check name tags on a few of the sister missionaries who happened to pass by us. But not me. After that post, I was on a quest. We talked to every sister missionary we passed on the grounds of the Temple, and when we didn't find her out there, we went into the Visitors Center and talked to all of the missionaries inside. We eventually found her companion who told us that she was in the little theater with a few visitors watching a movie about the Church. It had 5 minutes before it ended. That was plenty of time to meet a few more sister missionaries and bask in their glow. They were all so sweet and SO chatty. There is something entirely different and wonderful about the spirit those sister missionaries bring with them. I love the elders, but the sisters have a special place in my heart. (I kept thinking to myself, "How are my reserved daughters...especially my little Spell Girl...going to do this for 18 whole months in a place they're not familiar with?")
We eventually found the cute sister missionary we were hunting for. She was so happy to see us and she didn't even know who we were. We told her how we had come to find her and she immediately gave me a hug. (I LOVE that the sister missionaries can give hugs!) We connected for a few minutes about the friends we have in common and then took a quick picture that we posted on FB.
After talking to her, we also found out that there was a sister missionary from Toulouse, France, where the Scout Master served his mission. We talked to that delightful girl for a few minutes (and she hugged me, too!) and I got to listen to the Scout Master reminisce with her in French about all the people they both knew and the way the area has changed (and stayed the same) over the last 22 years. We also realized later that that sister missionary had not even been born when the Scout Master was a missionary there!
The whole night was miraculous to me. I marveled as we left at the amazing connecting power of technology combined with the spirit, the Temple, sister missionaries, and the Christmas season. A few minutes after we left, the Scout Master received a cute comment on that picture from that sister missionary's mom. And I thought, "I hope that sometime in the future when my children are away from me serving missions, that someone will make the effort to find them and post a picture somewhere to reassure me that they are happy and safe."
Last night I felt the strong connection Heavenly Father intends for us to have with one another. We're not supposed to just wander around by ourselves and be isolated. We are supposed to connect with our families, as well as with friends, neighbors and strangers. I loved that Temple experience last night. The connection I felt with those sister missionaries was even more miraculous than the hundreds of people who were walking around the Mesa Temple last night. It was more miraculous than the hundreds of Books of Mormon in various languages on the table in the center of the Visitors Center. It was even more miraculous than the beautiful Christmas lights that become an amazing missionary tool at this time of year. Last night, technology connected a handful of people who might have just walked past each other and never known that they had a connection at all.
I love this time of year. I'm so grateful to have decided to come on this trip. And just for a few moments last night, I loved Facebook.