Drive or ride about 12 hours each way to Freiberg, Germany; stay for 4 nights in the temple"hotel", taking its underground tunnel to the temple at 7am every morning and going through session after session -- four per day (including an evening session) -- for four or five days in a row.
and what our life has been like in those nine years:
over two full years of pregnancy, 2+ years of nursing infants, years of kids in school and lots of "life"
I think three is an okay number. Actually, let's put it this way, we maybe attended fifty or so sessions, over the course of nine years, at a temple that's 12 hours away. That sounds a little better. :)
Our last visit was three years ago. That time we became temple workers. This meant spending hours learning exactly what that entails, what to say and do (in both Polish and English) attending super early prayer meetings, and getting to know the temple presidency and temple missionaries rather well.
Unfortunately, when we first arrived at the temple and before we were asked to be temple workers I realized that my back was wrong as it sometimes is for weeks at a time. This would make the whole week difficult. I determined to try to attend a session or two each day, if I was able and rest the rest of the time. Then we got the calling. I explained my dilemma and, after our meeting with the temple counselor and his wife (the pres. was out of town this week), he and Greg gave me a blessing that I would be able to work. So I did.
Okay, that was a very long lead in to my point:
I had the chance to rub shoulders with some wonderful missionary couples. I know that being in the temple is an uplifting experience in general, but spending so much time (and there's quite a bit of standing around time for temple workers) with those people was really and truly wonderful .
Those mature women were such an enormous pleasure to talk to. They were smart. They were fun. They were warm. They were wise. They were extremely sympathetic, seeming to be intensely interested in every minute detail of my back issues, family, hobbies and everything I might possibly enjoy talking about. I came away feeling like I was an interesting and good person (who isn't interesting while talking about their back problems, really?) And not like I had hogged the conversation, either, somehow.
I came away from nearly every conversation thinking, "I wish I could, I HOPE I will be like that one day. I would just give anything to be like that. To make people feel like that, just by being who I am."
Currently, though, I am NOT like that (at all). I am starting to realize that it's not exactly the time for me to be like that. I need to be much better about being less oblivious of others and their needs, but it's also okay that I focus mostly on my family right now. So I'm sort of okay about it.
But then I worry that I am just too selfish in general. I am not the kind of warm and caring person I'd like to be by nature. I'm too tied up in me. BUT. . .
I am starting to realize that the experiences I'm having now that require me to be tied up more in myself and my family than I'd sometimes like to be are the very experiences that might make me that more mature woman that I want to be some day.
I've been thinking about this more than usual in recent weeks.
I really hope and believe that these last few months are part of that training. Other women have the same experiences I've been having. I think, I HOPE I will be more understanding and sympathetic to them as I learn to untie myself from me over the years.
I know the reward for what I'm going through these months is the baby that will be mine forever. That is enough. But it doesn't stop me from hoping that I'll also be rewarded by getting a little closer to becoming who I want to be, too.