by Joyce DiPastena
So last Wednesday, our Relief Society had a temple day, and I had to go because I’m Relief Society president. Not that I didn’t want to go…I did! It’s just that I’d had several late nights in a row, and was so very sleepy on Wednesday, and sure enough, my worst fears came true. All started off hopefully enough. I thought I was going to be okay at first. Then my eyes became a little droopy. I’ve fought that before, and furthermore, I consoled my guilt with the fact that even one of the temple workers (bless her!) had clearly nodded off for several minutes. (I was sitting in the second row, so she couldn’t fool me!) But then my eyes started crossing. When they begin to do that, I know I’m in serious trouble. Sleep will not be far behind! Desperately, I reached in the pocket of my temple dress and pulled out a Werther’s hard caramel. Now that’s taken care of my sleepiness in the past. (Although sometimes it takes two Werther’s or more to “take care” of it.) But this time, to my horror, my body was so sleepy, my mouth refused even to suck on the candy. It just lay there like a stone on my tongue. (A nicely flavorful stone, but still…) I knew I was lost. I struggled. I “rested my eyes”. The session went by in a flash (and a bit of a blur). Needless to say, I walked out of the temple that day with my head hung low in guilt and shame.
It was hard afterward not to scold myself with the thought, “You might as well not have even gone to the temple!” But despite my sleepy failures, I know I got something out of the session. Memories of covenants and commitments were somehow refreshed in my mind, in spite of myself. And, I kept insisting, however I might have failed myself, my ancestress, Anna Maria Ulisse had received her endowments that day!
Yet now, several days later, I still find myself wondering: When I meet Anna Maria someday, will she thank me for attending the temple and making it possible for her to receive her endowments? Or will she say to me instead in disappointment, “That was the best day of my existence! I was so excited! And I can’t believe you slept through the whole thing!”