It all started when my alarm didn't go off. I wanted to get to the temple for the 0600 session because I have such a long to-do list today. We wanted to leave by 0520- which is when I woke up. I grumbled my annoyance at my alarm (thanks to the book I accidentally set on top of the snooze button, the alarm started and turned off in the same moment. Oops.) and wondered if I should even go since now my schedule would be so far off.
I went upstairs and found my mom had slept in too, but she was almost ready. Okay, I thought to myself. I'll be faithful. I'll go. I hurried and got dressed and we were on our way.
The Jordan River temple has sessions every 20 minutes, and we got to the chapel just at 0640, so the next session would be at 0700. When we walked in, I noticed the organist was seated at the organ, but wasn't playing. There were just a few people sitting in the front benches, then 10 or so rows back was an entire congregation of Tongan members. Gorgeous dark hair, beautiful skin, all dressed in white- and they were singing.
It was amazing. I didn't recognize any of the songs they sang, but it was so powerful I just sat there and wept. Their voices were clear and strong and so rich- I cannot imagine any choir of angels could be more satisfying to hear. At times their harmony was more than four parts, and the rise and swell of the melodies that this beautiful people must have sung for generations was indescribably moving.
They sang several songs, and after the last was finished, it was announced that the session in Tongan would begin next, and there was room for about 10 more people if they wanted to attend and listen with headsets. I was the 10th person. My mom and I opted not to have headsets, but just to listen and feel the spirit of the words and the inherent warmth and peace being in the temple brings.
I knew everything that was being said, although I didn't understand the words. But still, I have never been so focused on listening during an endowment. It was incredible. I had so many new realizations, things that became clearer because the language itself was unfamiliar.
As I knew it would, the spirit bore witness of the truth and power of the covenants. The wonderful thing about the spirit is that it knows no bounds as to language, culture or race. If there is truth spoken, the spirit bears witness of it to our hearts if we can just be in tune. And even without comprehensible words, my heart was so filled and my soul so refreshed. The best part for me was the simple fact that I was so intent on listening to and soaking in the sweet, new experience I was having- I completely forgot to worry about and fuss over all the problems I came to ponder on and seeks answers to. For two whole hours, I just left everything else behind and focused on the truly important things that are not of this world.
It was possibly the most powerful temple experience I have ever had. My perspective has completely changed, my attitude adequately adjusted- and my heart feels healed. Granted, I still have work to do and much to accomplish, but somehow it all fits into its own place now. I have always loved the talk Elder Bednar gave on the tender mercies of our Father in Heaven, because it made me able to recognize them in my own life. My heart is so full of gratitude for the short yet life-changing tender mercy I was granted today.
Never in my life have I been so glad my alarm didn't go off.