The last five months have been interesting, to say the least. Life has changed dramatically for most people. There is so much chaos and commotion. It is difficult to watch and not be affected by it to some degree. The best word to describe how I have been feeling is gloomy. The most challenging thing for me during this pandemic has been not being able to go to the temple. No matter how overwhelming my life has gotten in the past, I could always go to the temple and find peace. Spending time in the temple grounded me, recharged my batteries, if you will, and gave me the strength to go back out and face the world.
Yesterday President Nelson put out a video where he talked about the weighty decision to close the temples. At the end, he said, “Even through clouds of sorrow, there can be silver linings found.”1 A friend asked what silver linings I have found during the temple closures. I knew immediately what the answer was.
About a month ago, I felt an overwhelming urge to research and study the histories of my ancestors. Almost immediately, I felt the cloud of gloom lifting. I felt a peace and strength very similar to what I would feel in the temple. It has been amazing! This shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. In general conference in April, President Russell M. Nelson reminded us, “Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son. … As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional.”2 Where I hear the Savior the best has always been in the temple. I needed to trust Him more so that I could hear Him other places too. Oh that I had listened in April and not in June to this promise from President Nelson, “While worshipping in the temple is presently not possible, I invite you to increase your participation in family history, including family history research and indexing. I promise that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him.”2
There was something else that President Nelson said in yesterday’s video that piqued my interest. “Even though temples have been closed, family history research and work has taken a huge leap forward; more names are being added.”1 Family history research has definitely taken a huge leap forward in my life. I am sad to admit that I have not been as familiar with my amazing family as I should have been. The gratitude I feel for their examples and sacrifices is overwhelming. Because of them, I have the gospel in my life. Their example of unwavering faithfulness is something I want to emulate! This has certainly been a silver lining while I am unable to go to the temple.
But President Nelson said silver linings. After watching the video, I felt compelled to look through names and ordinances I had done the month or two before the temple closed. Some of those ancestors still have ordinances that need to be done but at that time they were not able to be reserved. I decided to look for every person that didn’t have all their work done. To my delight, more had been added! I was able to reserve seventeen more ordinances for my relatives! I can hardly wait for the temples to reopen so I can do this work! What a beautiful silver lining!
We are surely living through some pretty cloudy days right now. The reality of life is that there will always be cloudy days. And there will also always be silver linings! Jeffery R. Holland said, “Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek.”3 As we seek the light and love of our Heavenly Father and strive to hear His Son ever more intentionally, every day we can feel the peace that comes only from Him. And on our cloudy days, I hope we will remember to look for the silver linings.
2. Hear Him – Russell M. Nelson
3. An High Priest of Good Things to Come – Jeffrey R. Holland