Sunday, October 05, 2014

Familiarity, Wonderment, The Temple, and Christmas

As this session of conference was starting the video switched to a shot over the the edge of the roof of the Salt Lake Tabernacle and pointing toward the temple.  I had a brief hazy memory come over me of what it was like the first time or two that I saw Temple Square.  Having seen it for years only on video it was a wonder to actually be there.  Now I know my way around and I have context of where it is in the city and the state, I find it becoming common place, which breaks my heart a little.  I know my way around temple square, for the most part, and I am a lot more familiar with the city.  While familiarity has made it feel like home to me has this familiarity taken away more than the superficial mystery?

I have wondered the same thing in the temple.  I remember a little of the feelings I had the first time I went and those feelings hung on as I was not able to get to the temple very often due to distance.  Now I find the experience familiar.

We went to the Ogden temple for the first time since it was rededicated.  Even though I was lost trying to find my way around, I found the experience somewhat routine.

I need to find a way to recapture that feeling of wonderment while still having it be home.

I guess it could be compared to Christmas as a child and Christmas as an adult.

Pondering on this made me want to write down some thoughts on this.

In recent years I have thought about the more formal behaviors of generations past. Things like taking off a hat when you enter a building and standing when someone approaches to shake your hand or greet you.

I have thought much about if these are things of the past that put distance between people and are not necessary in a more enlightened age. But what if they are important things that a more prideful and self absorbed society has done away with?

Are their disadvantages to familiarity that makes us more casual? Is there too much casual in our society and not enough formal things of substance? If so which things have substance and which are idle traditions?

Casual Temple Behavior
In the temple I have notice casual behaviors of those around me as well as my own character. I find people talking above a whisper in the temple and people having casual conversations in the temple.

Sacred Historical Places
So to bring it back to the feelings I have had about Temple Square or even the temple itself, I still find myself having a reverence, but not an awe. Have I lost a bit of reverence in becoming familiar? Is there any level of reverence that can recapture the wonder of the unfamiliar?

Familiar Relationship With Spouses
What about our relationship with our spouse. We start out dating and having a sense of mystery and reverence. Then we hold hands. Then we kiss. Then we are engaged and then married and then intimate. If we do not keep that reverence alive and let routine take over, then we forget that what we have (our marriage) is something special and that who we have is someone special.

But again, even though with that reverence things are more celestial, it is hard to recapture the wonder.

Perhaps it comes down to preparation. Perhaps if we constantly are keeping the Spirit with us and let Him show us the great things we have in our spouse, the temple, and places we visit, the wonder will return. Perhaps old fashioned things help us keep the Spirit with us and make us less prideful and more able to receive the wonder of things.

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