On Friday night last week Travis and I visited the temple to do an endowment session. I feel like I should share the experience I had.
We arrived for the 8 pm session (it's about the only time we can get there!). We were asked to be the witness couple (sure, it's only our 3rd time EVER at the temple, why not? What can we mess up?). Travis and I had both been given proxy names when we arrived (I haven't mastered the art of tracking down family names yet, although, I'm working on it for the German line that's been nagging me from the other side for the last 15 years). The birth date of the woman I had was roughly 1742.
As we went through the endowment session, each time I would go up to the front I would get what's best described as an anticipatory pit in the stomach only in my heart but also a squeeze on my heart like that of a vice. Does that even make sense? Crazy, I know. I kept thinking about how when we had gone through the endowment session for ourselves there had been emotion (obviously) but it had been different. I also kept thinking about how the first time we went through as proxy's that there was emotion but it had been different than the emotion I felt when we went through for ourselves. That first time through as a proxy I could feel peace and joy in my heart the entire session. This new feeling gave me pause and had me thinking quite a bit.
As we left the first room and headed for the second room I started to feel panic. Now, those that know me know that I have anxiety and that it has increased in the last year. I've had a few full blown panic attacks within the last year that have caused me much stress. As I started to feel the panic set in, I started talking to myself, "Why are you freaking out? Of all the places to have a panic attack, this is the stupidest place to feel panic and anxiety! This is the least likely place on the planet I should feel panic and anxiety! I know what I'm doing. It's not hard. Settle down!" As I was having this conversation with myself, inside my head (feeling like a psycho), I realized that I was in control of this anxiety and panic. Something that NEVER happens when I have a panic attack or anxiety sets in. It was then that it dawned on me that this was not my own anxiety and panic. Soon after this realization, I had the feelings of "Don't leave. Don't quit. You have to finish." At which point I started asking myself, "Why wouldn't I finish what I'm doing? I'm almost done! Why would I leave?" Again, I realized that these were not my own feelings. As I got up to do my final part, I kept telling myself to calm down. I knew that if I had a full blown panic attack set in that I wouldn't be able to finish what I was doing. It wasn't until I was almost finished with my part that I realized the anticipatory pit in my heart/vise and panic attack was completely gone. I felt only peace.
When Travis and I met up I told him about what I had experienced. His comment was, "So, you're saying you can feel what this person is feeling on the other side?" Simply put, yes. I told him we must be kindred spirits because I get the whole panic/anxiety thing. After a bit of time we decided we were ready to leave. I headed into the women's dressing room and started feeling like I was forgetting something. When I arrived in the dressing room I put the names in that I wanted to, I used the restroom and changed my clothes. As I was getting ready to leave I finished running through all the things I needed to do before I left, mentally checking each one off. It was then that I got hit with another wave of panic and "You can't leave! You aren't done! I'm not done! Don't leave!" I told myself yes, I was done. I had done everything I needed to do. I reminded myself that it was nearly 10 pm and that we were almost the last ones out of the temple, it was time to go. I continued out of the dressing room and waited for Travis. As I was telling Travis about it he looked at me and said, "It's because she isn't sealed yet. You didn't do her sealing." I was heart broken for this soul on the other side. Here she's been waiting for so long and she's so close and I wasn't able to finish her work for her. I know that her name will be printed out for another proxy and hopefully it won't take long for her name to come up for a sealing by proxy. I can only imagine the absolute happiness that day will bring this woman. She's obviously ready and waiting.
I am so thankful that I was able to go through the temple with my family while I could do it for myself. I know that we are a forever family and that as long as we do what's right, we will see one another again and it will be forever. There have been events the past week or so that have reminded me just how precious life is. I can only imagine the pain some families are going through right now. I'm not sure I could survive burying one of my children. But at least I have the comfort of knowing that if that were to happen, that we will be together again one day and that it will be forever.